George and Martha Washington enslaved 300 people. George Washington's Views on Slavery In his writings, George Washington felt very strongly that slavery was an institution that needed to be eliminated from American society. [209], The support of the southern states for the new constitution was secured by granting them concessions that protected slavery, including the Fugitive Slave Clause, plus clauses that promised Congress would not prohibit the transatlantic slave trade for twenty years, and that empowered (but did not require) Congress to authorize suppression of insurrections such as slave rebellions. [70] Despite the stress and anxiety caused by this indifference to family stability – on one occasion an overseer wrote that the separation of families "seems like death to them" – marriage was the foundation on which the enslaved population established their own community, and longevity in these unions was not uncommon. [58] Enslaved people at the outlying farms were issued with a basic set of clothing each year, comparable to the clothing issued on other Virginia plantations. Upon Martha Washington’s death in 1802, these individuals were divided among the Custis grandchildren. [45] The enslaved were expected to work from sunrise to sunset over a six-day work week that was standard on Virginia plantations. [257] Philip Morgan argues that Washington freeing his slaves while President in 1794 or 1796 would have had no profound effect, and would have been greeted with public silence and private derision by white southerners. In 1761 Washington acquired a farmhouse (which he later expanded to a five-farm estate) called Mount Vernon. [298] Research published in 2019 has concluded that Hercules worked as a cook in New York, where he died on May 15, 1812. Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society For diversion Washington was fond of riding, fox hunting, and dancing, of such theatrical performances as he could reach, and of duck hunting and sturgeon fishing. Washington was born into a Virginia planter family. His action was ignored by southern slaveholders, and slavery continued at Mount Vernon. The majority of Mount Vernons one million visitors per year, one presumes, pause to stare a… An Inventory of the … [b] – making him one of the largest slaveholders in Fairfax County. To the last, he was committed to making profits, even at the expense of the disruptions such transfers would indisputably have wrought on his slaves. [i] All six shared common themes that slaves first had to be educated about the obligations of liberty before they could be emancipated, a belief Washington is reported to have expressed himself in 1798, and that abolition should be realized by a gradual legislative process, an idea that began to appear in Washington's correspondence during the Confederation period. [176] A sudden end to slavery would also have caused a significant financial loss to slaveowners whose human property represented a valuable asset. [83][84][c], The probability of paternal relationships between enslaved and hired white workers is indicated by some surnames: Betty and Tom Davis, probably the children of Thomas Davis, a white weaver at Mount Vernon in the 1760s; George Young, likely the son of a man of the same name who was a clerk at Mount Vernon in 1774; and Judge and her sister Delphy, the daughters of Andrew Judge, an indentured tailor at Mount Vernon in the 1770s and 1780s. 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