By attacking slavery more fiercely than ever before, Revolutionary Americans freed tens of thousands of slaves. But the Revolution’s libertarian and egalitarian message had perverse consequences. It forced those Southerners who chose to retain slavery to fall back on the alleged racial deficiencies of blacks as a justification for an institution that hitherto they had taken for granted and had never before needed to justify. The anti-slavery movement that arose out of the Revolution inadvertently produced racism in America.
Continental Army general, won the Battles of Saratoga; 1727—1806.
Slave of Thomas Jefferson; 1765—1801.
Slave of Thomas Jefferson; 1776—1830.
House slave of Thomas Jefferson; mother of at least six of his children; 1773—1836.
Lawyer, orator, Virginia governor; 1736—99.
Lawyer, architect, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, Virginia governor, diplomat, third President, founder of the University of Virginia; 1743—1826.
Personal attendant to Martha Washington; c. 1773—1848.
Slave of Thomas Jefferson, they grew up together; 1743—1800.
Diplomat to France, Continental congressman; 1740—92.
Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1732—82.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)