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When the French formally joined the Americans as allies against the British in 1778, Kentuckians started adopting French names for their new counties, cities, and towns in honor of France, America’s oldest ally. Fayette and Bourbon Counties, Paris, Louisville, and Versailles, were all named between 1778 and 1792, the year when Kentucky achieved statehood. Cultivating its French connection was for KY a way to challenge, if not reverse the narrative of patriotism coming from the East Coast. People here had been dealing with the French one hundred years prior to the signing of the Treaty of Alliance in 1778.

In 1824, the news of Lafayette’s return to the US resonated throughout the Commonwealth of KY as one last chance to physically welcome a living representative of the American Revolution to the Bluegrass State. What did Lafayette’s visit mean for Kentuckians?

Source: The Lafayette Trail, Inc. 

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