Women of the Revolution

by John Wollaston ( c. 1710—c. 1775)

Oil on canvas; 30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm). New York Historical Society, New York, NY.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 1/2 x 40 5/8 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 126.05 x 100.33 cm (49 5/8 x 39 1/2 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 127.32 x 100.65 cm (50 1/8 x 39 5/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, CA.

Margaret Kemble Gage, 1734—1824.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; 91.4 x 71.1 x 2.5cm (36 x 28 x 1 in). National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

by Joshua Reynolds (1723—92)

Oil on canvas; 125.7 x 100.3 cm

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; height: 124.46 cm (49 in), width: 99.06 cm (39 in). Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas. Middleton Place, Charleston, SC

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 30 3/8 x 25 1/8. U.S. Department of State, Harry S.

Racial prejudice worked to perpetuate American slavery, even if it was not essential to sustain the institution. Slavery, serfdom, and peonage had existed elsewhere without racial connotations. Indeed, bondage had been so historically ubiquitous one might well ask why, by the 1760’s, it had come to trouble so many white Americans so much. The answer lies in part — and this part help explain why people like Mason did not act more aggressively on their concerns — in the reservations many whites felt about living alongside members of a supposedly inferior race, whether slave or free. The problem was inherent in American slavery, and emancipation, by undermining white control, would only make it worse.

Jeff Broadwater
George Mason: Forgotten Founder (2006)