An imperfect god : George Washington, his slaves, and the creation of America

An analysis of how George Washington's life was impacted by slavery discusses his ties to the slave community, activities as a slave owner, realization of the evils of slavery, and political efforts on behalf of slaves. A major new biography of Washington, and the first to explore his engagemen...

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Main Author: Wiencek, Henry.
Format: Book
Language:English
Published: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.
Edition:1st ed.
Subjects and Genres:
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003 OCoLC
005 20180419124511.0
008 030325s2003 nyuab b 001 0beng
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100 1 |a Wiencek, Henry. 
245 1 3 |a An imperfect god :  |b George Washington, his slaves, and the creation of America  |c Henry Wiencek 
250 |a 1st ed. 
260 |a New York :  |b Farrar, Straus and Giroux,  |c 2003. 
300 |a 404 pages :  |b illustrations, map ;  |c 24 cm 
336 |a text  |b txt  |2 rdacontent 
337 |a unmediated  |b n  |2 rdamedia 
338 |a volume  |b nc  |2 rdacarrier 
504 |a Includes bibliographical references (pages 364-390) and index. 
505 0 |a Map of Washington's Virginia -- Introduction : General's dream -- Home ground -- On the borderland -- The widow Custis -- A life honorable and amusing -- A scheme in Williamsburg -- "So sacred a war as this" -- A different destiny -- "A sort of shadowy life" -- The great escape -- Mrs. Peter's patrimony -- "The justice of the creator." 
520 |a An analysis of how George Washington's life was impacted by slavery discusses his ties to the slave community, activities as a slave owner, realization of the evils of slavery, and political efforts on behalf of slaves. 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 father's 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, Washington's 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 system's evil. Wiencek's revelatory narrative, based on a meticulous examination of private papers, court records, and the voluminous Washington archives, documents for the first time the moral transformation culminating in Washington's determination to emancipate his slaves. He acted too late to keep the new republic from perpetuating slavery, but his repentance was genuine. And it was perhaps related to the possibility--as the oral history of Mount Vernon's slave descendants has long asserted--that a slave named West Ford was the son of George and a woman named Venus; Wiencek has new evidence that this could indeed have been true. George Washington's heroic stature as Father of Our Country is not diminished in this superb, nuanced portrait: now we see Washington in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time. 
590 |a The Pennsylvania Abolition Society Complementary Collection. 
600 1 0 |a Washington, George,  |d 1732-1799. 
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650 0 |a Presidents  |z United States  |v Biography. 
650 0 |a Slavery  |x Political aspects  |z United States  |x History  |y 18th century. 
651 0 |a United States  |x Politics and government  |y 1775-1783. 
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852 |a Historical Society of Pennsylvania  |b Closed Stacks  |h E 312.17 .W6 2003  |t 1 
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