“Cur Non?” — A Battlecry to Change the World

Ethan Steininger
2 min readSep 15, 2023


Act 1: France, The Yearning

You’re in France, the 18th century. Young Lafayette, barely in his twenties, stands beside you, resolute and idealistic. “Why not?” he says, looking into the horizon. The Latin equivalent, “Cur Non,” would soon become his personal motto. As if in silent conversation with his own destiny, the words echo the audacity of asking, why can’t things be different? Why can’t a man change the world?

Act 2: Across the Atlantic

You feel the sway of the ship, the Hermione, as it battles the choppy Atlantic. Lafayette stands at the bow, unwavering. “Cur Non,” he whispers. Why not cross an ocean for the idea of liberty? It’s 1777, and the American colonies are in upheaval. The young Marquis, a beacon of hope and connection, joins the fight, linking France and America in their pursuit of freedom.

Act 3: Valley Forge

The winter chill cuts deep. Valley Forge is a crucible, a test of resolve. Lafayette is here, and so are you. He doesn’t just provide strategic expertise; he gives the American troops something invaluable — hope. His very presence, a French noble risking his life for a foreign cause, embodies the essence of “Cur Non.” Why shouldn’t nations unite for a common ideal?

Act 4: Back to France

After the American Revolution succeeds, you return with Lafayette to a France on the brink. The whispers of change are growing louder, fueled by the same unyielding spirit of “Cur Non.” Lafayette plays his part in the French Revolution, though it proves far messier, more treacherous. Yet even here, amid the rise and fall of regimes, “Cur Non” lives on. Why not envision a society based on liberty, equality, fraternity?

Act 5: The Legacy

Years later, standing beside Lafayette’s grave, you realize the indelible impact of those two simple words. They’re more than a personal motto; they’re a clarion call that has rippled through revolutions, crossed oceans, and united disparate people under the banner of freedom.

“Cur Non” transcends Lafayette’s life, becoming an echo that reverberates wherever someone dares to ask, “Why not?”