George Washington

by Grant Wood (1892—1942)

Oil on canvas. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX.

by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863—1930)

Oil on canvas. One of the 78 scenes from American history by Ferris titled The Pageant of a Nation. Virginia Historical Society, Ric

by Junius Brutus Stearns (1810—85)

Oil on canvas; height: 95.25 cm (37.5 in), width: 137.16 cm (54 in). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA.

by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816—68)

Oil on canvas; 149 x 255 in. (378.5 x 647.7 cm). Painted in the artist’s studio in Düsseldorf, Germany.

by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816—68)

Oil on canvas; approximately 23 ft. x 13 ft. Roger W.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 73 x 60.5 cm (28 3/4 x 23 13/16 in). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)


by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)

Oil on canvas. 73.02 x 60.01 cm (28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in). Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)

Oil on canvas; 71.5 inches x 53.25 inches (181.6 cm x 135.3 cm). U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)

Oil on canvas; 137 1/2 x 120 1/2 in. (3.5 x 3 m). Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Jefferson was in most respects a typical slaveholder. Although he always condemned slavery, he did own one of the largest slave populations in Virginia. Upon the division of his father-in-law’s estate in 1774 he became, in fact, the second-largest slaveholder in Albemarle County. Thereafter the number of his slaves remained around two hundred — with increases through births offset by periodic sales to pay off debts. Jefferson was known to be a good master, reluctant to break up families or to sell slaves except for delinquency or at their own request. Nevertheless, between 1784 and 1794 he disposed of 161 people by sale or gift. It is true that Jefferson was averse to separating young children from their parents; but once slave boys or girls reached the age of ten or twelve and their working lives began, they were no longer children in Jefferson’s mind.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)