George Washington and Slave Control...

5fish

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George Washington used most if not all means to punish rogue/runaway slaves. He used demotion, force, and chains and sold them off. He did sell his rogue slaves to other plantations but to plantations in the West Indies...


Violent coercive measures were used as well, including whippings and beatings. In some instances, physical restraints were utilized to ensure that slaves would not run away. When Tom, the slave foreman at River Farm, was sold in the West Indies in 1766 as a punishment for being "both a Rogue & Runaway," Washington wrote to the ship's captain to "keep him handcuffd till you get to Sea."1

Washington instituted a system of review in order to determine when he deemed physical abuse as a punishment. As described by Washington's secretary Tobias Lear, "no whipping is allowed without a regular complaint & the defendant found guilty of some bad deed."6

If threats of demotion and whipping did not succeed in changing a slave's behavior, the ultimate form of punishment was to sell the individual away from the plantation. Slaves could be sold to a buyer in the West Indies, ensuring that the person would never see their family or friends at Mount Vernon again.


Some other notes on slavery at Mount Vernon ...


Despite having been an enslaver for 56 years, George Washington struggled with the institution of slavery and wrote of his desire to end the practice. At the end of his life, Washington made the decision to free all of the enslaved people he owned in his 1799 will.
 

5fish

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Here is Thomas Jefferson's on slave control. We all know he had a slave for a lover. He did order the punishment of rogue slaves as any other slave owner. It seems he used his overseers to give the beatings. He enslaves a lot of people while writing about "all men are equal"...


Thomas Jefferson enslaved over 600 human beings throughout the course of his life. 400 people were enslaved at Monticello; the other 200 people were held in bondage on Jefferson’s other properties. At any given time, around 130 people were enslaved at Monticello.

Yes. People at Monticello were physically beaten. Several overseers had a reputation for cruelty and violence: Gabriel Lilly, William Page, and William McGeehee. There are no documents of Thomas Jefferson personally beating a slave, but such actions were uncommon for slaveholders. Most slaveholders would consider such physical labor beneath them, and hired overseers to perform the actual administration of violence. Thomas Jefferson did order physical punishment.


The racist ideas promoted by European Enlightenment philosophers strongly influenced Jefferson’s worldview, and his writings confirm he harbored the same racist beliefs as many of his peers. He knew slavery was wrong, yet rationalized his ownership of others through a sense of paternalistic racism, writing that freeing them was like “abandoning children.”

Here is the Smithsonian look at Jefferson and slavery...


“One cannot question the genuineness of Jefferson’s liberal dreams,” writes historian David Brion Davis. “He was one of the first statesmen in any part of the world to advocate concrete measures for restricting and eradicating Negro slavery.” But in the 1790s, Davis continues, “the most remarkable thing about Jefferson’s stand on slavery is his immense silence.” And later, Davis finds, Jefferson’s emancipation efforts “virtually ceased.” Somewhere in a short span of years during the 1780s and into the early 1790s, a transformation came over Jefferson.

The critical turning point in Jefferson’s thinking may well have come in 1792. As Jefferson was counting up the agricultural profits and losses of his plantation in a letter to President Washington that year, it occurred to him that there was a phenomenon he had perceived at Monticello but never actually measured. He proceeded to calculate it in a barely legible, scribbled note in the middle of a page, enclosed in brackets. What Jefferson set out clearly for the first time was that he was making a 4 percent profit every year on the birth of black children. The enslaved were yielding him a bonanza, a perpetual human dividend at compound interest. Jefferson wrote, “I allow nothing for losses by death, but, on the contrary, shall presently take credit four per cent. per annum, for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers.” His plantation was producing inexhaustible human assets. The percentage was predictable. In another communication from the early 1790s, Jefferson takes the 4 percent formula further and quite bluntly advances the notion that slavery presented an investment strategy for the future.
 

5fish

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Here is a good article about Jefferson and his slaves... The Master of the Mountian... more detail on his treatment of hos slaves...


Wiencek effectively demolishes this picture -- with the possible exception of the reverence bit. Some of Jefferson's slaves did attempt to escape, but others felt a profound loyalty. Martin Hemings (like Sally, a member of one of several extended families owned by Jefferson and his relations) famously refused to betray his master's location during the Revolutionary War, even when a British soldier pointed a pistol at his chest. The last recorded mention of Martin Hemings can be found in a letter Jefferson wrote to his daughter in 1795, in which the founding father lists the man who defended him so bravely as one of two items, along with a carriage, "to be disposed of" in a push to raise more funds.

"The difficult truth," Wiencek writes, "is that for decades Jefferson skillfully played both sides of the slavery question, maintaining his reputation as a liberal while doing nothing." It was simply in his best interests to perpetuate slavery, and that's what he did, applying his practical genius to modernizing the peculiar institution to adapt to a new century and an expanding nation. The contemporary image of Jefferson as confounded by the conflict between his idealism and the limitations of the real world strike Wiencek as a last-ditch attempt to redeem a hero whose actions simply don't jibe with his stated values. In short, we try to persuade ourselves that the author of some of our most inspiring political works was not a self-serving hypocrite. But given the bountiful evidence offered in "The Master of the Mountain," it's now impossible to see him any other way.
 

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You all know Thomas Jefferson fathered children with a slave. Well, James Madison as a young man fathered a child with a slave, an open secret... It is a great story about Jim, James Madison's son...

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But in the 1790s, according to Kearse's family story, Madison was attracted to their cook, an enslaved woman named Coreen. Coreen was the daughter of Mandy and Madison's father. Thus, she was the future president's own half-sister as well as the mother of his son, Jim.

As Virginia tobacco planters, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, the first, third, fourth, and fifth presidents of the United States, had much in common. Between them, over a generation, they owned more than 1,000 human beings.


Here is another version of the story about Jim...

https://zora.medium.com/i-am-a-descendant-of-james-madison-and-his-slave-62f7a3660600

I did not question Madison’s greatness, but I did question his goodness. James Jr. inherited more than fortune and power. He also inherited the Southern way of thinking and behaving. Madison was a Founding Father who was reputed to have been kind to the human beings listed among his possessions, but I knew that he, like his father and many other plantation owners, sexually assaulted or coerced the women he owned. In my eyes, the griots before me had glossed over the less than admirable behavior that had given James Madison Jr. a place of honor in my family tree.
 

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John Quincy Adams may have been against slavery but he allowed others to have slaves living under his roof...

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The point remains, though, that while Adams never owned enslaved people and is considered by many an antislavery president, he appears to have permitted slavery under his own roof.

Walter Hellen’s will dictated that a portion of his wealth be applied toward the “maintenance and education” of his children until they came of age.10 John Quincy Adams would certainly have received disbursements from that estate for housing, feeding, and clothing the Hellen children. Hellen’s fortune was built in part on the labor of enslaved people, but if Adams had any qualms about taking a slave owner’s money, he never publicly expressed them. However, the money was not all that the young Hellens brought with them from their father’s estate. Substantial evidence suggests that they were accompanied by at least a few enslaved servants, including during the years they lived at the White House.

Here is a good article on JQA and slavery in his home... People rarely wrote about their slaves or anyone's slaves...


But real life, as ever, was more complicated. The census records for that same year, 1820, show a female slave under the age of fourteen living in the Adams residence. The slave was almost certainly not owned by John Quincy. “I abhorred slavery,” he later told an abolitionist, and “did not suffer it in my family,”—and he was not one to lie. But he was human, and he lived in Washington, and, like every politician in Washington—even one whose watchword was integrity—he made compromises. He and Louisa may have rented her from her owners and paid her (and, perhaps, her owner) wages, a common practice in Washington at the time and something we know that the Adamses later did. Or she may have been owned by a member of the extended family who frequently lived with them, sometimes for long periods of time—most likely one of Louisa’s nieces or nephews. Louisa’s father, Joshua Johnson, was a Southerner. The Johnsons, including the families of Louisa’s sisters—her closest friends—owned slaves.

One possibility is that the slave was a young woman named Rachel Clark. In 1816, after Louisa’s niece Mary was orphaned, at the age of ten, Mary inherited stock and “cash, furniture and negroes.” Shortly after, she went to live with John Quincy and Louisa. It is not known what happened to the slaves, but Mary may have brought one with her. In the South, it was common for a wealthy white girl to be “given” a domestic slave about her age; it was thought to cultivate the slave’s loyalty. We know that Mary had a slave named Rachel Clark because in 1828—near the end of John Quincy Adams’s term as President, after Mary had been living with him and Louisa for ten years, including in the White House—Mary set her free. She did it on the same day that she married Louisa and John Quincy’s son.
 

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I can not find anything of note about President Monroe's days as a slave master. He was one of the biggest slave owners of his time. History records he was for the abolition of slavery and favor the colonization movement of slaves back to Africa. The record shows he only freed one slave, on his deathbed. He like Jefferson knew their wealth was in slavery and chose to reap the benefits of that wealth.


One of the changes enacted was allowing transportation as a substitute punishment for certain capital crimes. Based on his writings afterwards, the event shifted Monroe’s attitudes toward slavery. It is also possible that this episode—and the solution of transportation—was the origin of his future support for colonization.7

Here is a side point Monroe was buried in New York City and moved to Virginia years later...


That year, in a seemingly desperate ploy to heal the splitting nation, the Governor of New York wrote to Virginia’s Governor, Henry Wise. In the letter, he offered to exhume the body of James Monroe (he had died 27 years earlier, in New York City) and repatriate his remains to Virginia on the 100th anniversary of Monroe’s birth. This conciliatory gesture in the face of rising North/South tensions was readily accepted by Governor Wise, who secured funding for the ensuing spectacle: the Era of Good Feelings would be resurrected.

James Monroe was reinterred at Hollywood Cemetery on July 5, 1858. Richmonder Albert Lybrock won a contest to design his tomb, which the Dispatch called a “gothic temple,” and which has been recently restored to its original appearance. At the new, open grave, both governors delivered speeches on national unity. Afterwards, the delegations and military attachments from Virginia and New York celebrated aboard the Jamestown. The Era of Dug Up Good Feelings lasted well into the night. It was a great party and the entire affair was deemed a diplomatic success for both the North and the South, even if, in a spooky turn, Alexander Hamilton’s grandson fell overboard and drowned. Even if, in three years, the two sides would be at war.
 

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This is the closest I have found to his management of his slaves...


Madison continued to criticize slavery but refused to act decisively against it. He treated successful free Blacks respectfully, and he never suggested Blacks were innately inferior to whites, but he cited the woes of less prosperous formerly enslaved persons as an argument against immediate emancipation. He blamed their predicament on discrimination and on the failure of slavery to prepare them for freedom. Gentle by temperament, Madison acquired a reputation as a relatively benevolent enslaver, and he generally avoided selling the people he owned. However, faced with mounting financial pressure as farming income from Montpelier declined, he did sell sixteen enslaved persons to William Taylor, a cousin in Louisiana who owned a sugar and a cotton plantation.

Here is this Monroe sued a person for beating his slave... this a Q & A with Historians about Monroe kind of eye opening...


. Perhaps more directly on the point of his own slaves, Monroe sued a nephew of Thomas Jefferson (also named Thomas Jefferson) over the abuse (beating) of one of Monroe's slaves who Monroe had rented to the younger Jefferson -- Monroe saying he wasn't suing for money but simply to be certain that such behavior would not be repeated -- words to the effect, "We treat these people badly enough as it is."

In 1823 the British foreign minister proposed that Great Britain and the U.S. enter into an agreement to prevent Spain and its allies from invading Latin America for the purpose of subduing Spain's rebellious colonies. Monroe sought advice on the proposal from his friends, including Jefferson who urged him to accept the British proposal. Monroe rejected Jefferson's advice and issued a statement of a unilateral position, which we now know as the Monroe Doctrine.




 

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Here is a tidbit on Founding Fathers and slaves...


Of the nine presidents who owned slaves, only Washington freed his. He resisted efforts to make him a king and established the precedent that no one should serve more than two terms as president. He voluntarily yielded power. His enemy, George III, remarked in 1796, as Washington’s second term was coming to an end, "If George Washington goes back to his farm, he will be the greatest character of his age." As George Will wrote, "the final component of Washington’s indispensability was the imperishable example he gave by proclaiming himself dispensable."

So it is of particular irony to admit that Jefferson was as remarkable a man as America has produced. "Spent the evening with Mr. Jefferson," John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary in 1785, "whom I love to be with....You can never be an hour in the man’s company without something of the marvelous." And even Abigail Adams wrote of him, "He is one of the choice ones of the earth."
 

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Here the world of slaveholding presidents came from... Predatory Southern Men...


Physical punishment was sometimes extremely violent and could result from women’s refusal of slaveholders’ sexual advances. Minnie Fulkes alluded to this violence when interviewed by the WPA. She suggested an overseer tied up and whipped her mother because she refused to be “a wife” to this man. Fulkes hence rather opaquely conveys how her mother’s refusal of the overseer’s sexual advances led to this punishment:

Enslaved women’s responses to the sexual advances of white men varied. Some fought back, regardless of the consequences of their actions. Others acquiesced in an attempt at self-preservation. Overall the sheer volume of surviving testimony about such a private, personal, and stressful phenomenon—alongside the fact that so many enslaved women gave birth to the children of their masters—is testament to the fact that such abuse by white men in a variety of positions was widespread.


The video is a good summary...

 

diane

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Here the world of slaveholding presidents came from... Predatory Southern Men...


Physical punishment was sometimes extremely violent and could result from women’s refusal of slaveholders’ sexual advances. Minnie Fulkes alluded to this violence when interviewed by the WPA. She suggested an overseer tied up and whipped her mother because she refused to be “a wife” to this man. Fulkes hence rather opaquely conveys how her mother’s refusal of the overseer’s sexual advances led to this punishment:

Enslaved women’s responses to the sexual advances of white men varied. Some fought back, regardless of the consequences of their actions. Others acquiesced in an attempt at self-preservation. Overall the sheer volume of surviving testimony about such a private, personal, and stressful phenomenon—alongside the fact that so many enslaved women gave birth to the children of their masters—is testament to the fact that such abuse by white men in a variety of positions was widespread.


The video is a good summary...

Sexual violence has always been used as an enforcement tool by those who have gained control by force. As much as women were in a horrible place, it was mostly aimed at the men. It was the best way to make them feel like a door mat. People with a broken spirit won't rise up and kill you in your sleep! But... This violence against women was the very thing the masters most feared with emancipation, and it was used to work up white anger against freedmen. There was, in reality, not a general feeling of retaliation - not that it didn't happen, but it was not at all what the former masters were frightened of. The case of Margaret Garner (subject of the novel Beloved) was tragic - she had four children, three by her master, and she and her husband ran away. They were picked up in Ohio by federal marshals but she tried to kill all the kids - the one she did kill was, notably, the little girl.
 
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