Washington Frees His Slaves

George Washington was a very great man, but more importantly he was a very good man.  Born into a time and place where negro slavery was taken to be simply a fact of life, he gradually grew to believe that it was an evil.  Unlike other Founding Fathers who also talked about the evils of slavery but never freed their slaves, Washington left explicit instructions in his will for the freeing of his slaves after the death of his wife.  This of course involved a huge pecuniary loss to his Estate.   He not only made arrangements for the freeing of his slaves, he also left provisions for the care of slaves who were too old and/or infirm to support themselves and instructions that young slaves were to be taught to read and write and trained in a useful occupation and freed on their 25th birthday.   He specifically forbade the sale or transportation of any of his slaves from Virginia in an attempt to avoid the provisions of his will freeing them.   Martha Washington freed all of George Washington’s slaves on January 1, 1801. How much agony, war and bitter racial strife this nation would have been spared if all slaveholders had followed the example of the Father of Our Country!  Here is the portion of Washington’s will regarding the manumission of his slaves:  (more…)

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)  
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