Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell:
The thing that drew me to Lafayette as a subject—that he was that rare object of agreement in the ironically named United States—kept me coming back to why that made him unique. Namely, that we the people have never agreed on much of anything. Other than a bipartisan consensus on barbecue and Meryl Streep, plus that time in 1942 when everyone from Bing Crosby to Oregonian schoolchildren heeded FDR’s call to scrounge up rubbed for the war effort, disunity is the through line in the national plot—not necessarily as a failing, but as a free people’s privilege. And thanks to Lafayette and his cohorts in Washington’s army, plus the king of France and his navy, not to mention the founding dreamers who clearly did not think through what happens every time one citizen’s pursuit of happiness infuriates his neighbors, getting on each other’s nerves is our right.