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George Washington and Slavery

George Washington is known as an active slave holder for many years, but people should understand that he struggled with the institution of slavery. Besides, he spoke frequently of his wish to stop this practice. At the end of his life, George made his bold steps to free his own slaves in the will so that he was the only slave-holding Founding Father who did that. There are many interesting facts that should be researched when it comes to Washington and slavery.

He first became a slave owner when he was only 11 years old. When his father died, George had to become a slave owner because his father left him a family farm and 10 slaves. When he was a young adult, he bought more slaves. At the time of his death, the enslaved population of the Mount Vernon consisted of more than 300 people, and a half of them were owned by Washington.

Another important fact is that his marriage to Martha Washington increased the number of his slaves considerably. This woman was a widow of one rich planter so that when George took his control over the Mount Vernon, the population of Fairfax Country included 28% of slaves. It’s worth mentioning that this proportion kept raising throughout the century so that over 40% of all people who lived there by the end of the American Revolution were slaves.

There are different opinions on how George Washington treated slaves in the Mount Vernon because many sources offer diverse insights into his behavior as being a slave owner. Some people think that his treatment was severe, while others call it humanely. The main thing that is clear is that he often used a range of harsh punishments against slaves, such as whipping and taxing work assignments. The worst thing that George could do is selling slaves to buyers in the West Indies, thus ensuring that they would never see their friends and families, but it happened only in a few occasions.

Take into account that slaves at the Mount Vernon practiced different religious customs and traditions, including both European and African. Some of them were Christians, while others were Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, etc. On many occasions, slaves ran away from George’s household trying to gain their freedom so that they used different opportunities to physically escape from Washington. Some of them were successful, while others were unlucky. Finally, his slaves resisted their enslavement via less noticeable means, including working on plantations.

George Washington is known as an active slave holder for many years, but people should understand that he struggled with the institution of slavery. Besides, he spoke frequently of his wish to stop this practice. At the end of his life, George made his bold steps to free his own slaves in the will so that he was the only slave-holding Founding Father who did that.

Assignment ID
100000827
Type
CREATED ON
1 August 2016
COMPLETED ON
2 August 2016
Price
$13
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