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An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America
An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek 0374175268 9780374175269
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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. Wienceks 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 Washingtons 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 Vernons 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 Washingtons 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.

Author: Henry Wiencek

Language: English

Edition: 1st

Binding: Hardcover

Pages: 416

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: 2003-11-15

Our Price: $4.49

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ISBN: 0374175268


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Henry Wiencek (Edition: 1st) Hardcover


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