I came across similarly "idealizing and idolizing" picture recently that I believe shows exactly why millions of Americans turned out to see Lsfayette when he toured America in 1824-5. This engraved image, created by Achille Moreau, in 1825, based on a painting by Jean Auguste Dubouloz.
I find it interesting that these two Frenchman exactly nailed what Lafayette's tour meant to Americans. He was the last general officer from the Revolution still living, and he had been a close friend of Washington (who had died 25 years earlier), and many other Founding Fathers. Thus, he was a living link with a defining moment of our nation's history.
At the bottom of the image are these words (in French and in English):
"The spirits of the defenders of the American liberty are visiting him during his passage. The genii protectors of America drive away the storms."
Here is one explanation of what this picture portrays:
"Lafayette's triumphal tour of the United States in 1824-1825 focused the attention of Americans on the heroes of the Revolutionary War and confirmed Lafayette's own place among them. In this allegorical imageof Lafayette's return voyage to France in 1825 on board the frigate Brandywine, the old general remembers the heroes who achieved American independence."
At the front of the crowd of Revolutionary heroes, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are clearly identifiable. I don't know who the others pictured are. If anyone has a guess or more solid information about their identities please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notice the native American kneeling on the right. I assume this is meant to depict the Oneida and other tribes who helped the Americans. Lafayette, after all, personally convinced the Oneida to join our army at Valley Forge, and they played a key role at Barren Hill, etc. (I can't figure out why he alone is kneeling.)