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Lives Bound Together: Slavery in Washington's World

This page provides resources accompanying the Slavery in Washington's World and Soldier, Statesmen, Slaveholder Galleries in the Lives Bound Together Virtual Exhibit. It contains primary and secondary sources on the 18th Century Slave Trade, as well as information regarding Washington's views on slavery and the people who were enslaved at Mount Vernon. Use these resources to aid exhibit exploration, learn more about the system of slavery, and find useful learning materials.

The 18th Century Economy

The slave trade played a major role in the 18th-century Atlantic economy. Many individuals were captured in Africa and forcibly brought to the American colonies to be sold.

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Slavery at Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon was the home of George Washington. It was also home to hundreds of enslaved men, women, and children who lived here under Washington’s control. 

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Labor in the Mansion

Many people who were enslaved labored in the Mount Vernon Mansion, which allowed the Washingtons to maintain their lifestyles.

Read about Labor in the Mansion

Explore the Mansion

Explore the spaces that many enslaved individuals worked and lived.

Key Events of Slavery

Click the link to learn about the key events of slavery that happened during George Washington's life

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African Americans in the Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War was a difficult time for George Washington as he led the Continental Army against the British. But it also provided opportunities for those at Mount Vernon and elsewhere. 

View the Map

Slavery and Washington's Presidency

George Washington privately wondered about abolition but did not publically advocate eliminating the institution of slavery during his presidency and elsewhere.

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Washington's Changing Views on Slavery

Washington started to question slavery during the Revolutionary War and often thought about it throughout his life, eventually freeing the enslaved people he owned outright in his will.

Read more about Washington's Views

How was Washington's world affected by the system of slavery?

How was Washington's world affected by the system of slavery?