George washington was a slave owner

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george washington was a slave owner

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek

A major new biography of Washington, and the first to explore his engagement with American slavery

When George Washington wrote his will, he made the startling decision to set his slaves free; earlier he had said that holding slaves was his only unavoidable subject of regret. In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the founding fathers engagement with slavery at every stage of his life--as a Virginia planter, soldier, politician, president and statesman.

Washington was born and raised among blacks and mixed-race people; he and his wife had blood ties to the slave community. Yet as a young man he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts (an incident ignored by earlier biographers). Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washingtons attitudes began to change. He and the other framers enshrined slavery in the Constitution, but, Wiencek shows, even before he became president Washington had begun to see the systems evil.
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Published 30.03.2019

Entangled Lives: Slavery at George Washington's Mount Vernon

Did George Washington Really Free Mount Vernon’s Slaves?

The relationship between George Washington and slavery was complex, contradictory and evolved over time. It operated on two levels: his personal position as a slaveowning Virginia planter and later farmer; and his public positions first as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and later as President of the United States. He owned slaves almost his entire life, having inherited the first ten slaves at the age of eleven on the death of his father in In adulthood his personal slaveholding increased through inheritance, purchase and natural increase, and he gained control of dower slaves belonging to the Custis estate on his marriage in to Martha Dandridge Custis. Washington's early attitudes to slavery reflected the prevailing Virginia planter views of the day; he demonstrated no moral qualms about the institution and referred to his slaves as "a Species of Property. Washington remained dependent on slave labor, and by the time of his death in he owned slaves, whom he freed in his will, and controlled another , most of whom remained enslaved.

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When George Washington died in , a new nation ground to a halt. - There are others who believe that some of these men are unworthy of our attention because they owned slaves, Washington, Jefferson, Clark among them, but not Adams. They failed to rise above their time and place, though Washington but not Jefferson freed his slaves.

In , the African-American historian Carter G. Now February serves as a point of collision between presidential celebration and marginalized black history. He continued to acquire slaves — some through the death of family members and others through direct purchase. His new wife brought more than 80 slaves to the estate at Mount Vernon. On the eve of the American Revolution, nearly souls were counted as part of the property there.



  1. Mariu E. says:

    Despite having been an active slave holder for 56 years, George Washington struggled with the institution of slavery and spoke frequently of his desire to end the practice.

  2. Creedunanim says:

    Ten Facts About Washington & Slavery · George Washington's Mount Vernon

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