General Washington at New York, 1790

Property in land and property in slaves were the engines that drove Virginia society from its earliest days, giving Jefferson and those in his class wealth, independence, and liberty — their sense of identity. It was the dividing line between those who could participate in republican society by voting and those who could not, between those who were respectable and those who were not.

Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf
"Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" (2016)