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.
Lee, Francis Lightfoot
Philadelphia, PA — Site of the Second Continental Congress and of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; access is available through a Park Ranger tour.
Stratford, VA — Built by Thomas Lee in the late 1730s, Stratford was home to six sons and two daughters — with five sons who served in various ways during the Revolution. The 1,900-acre site includes nature trails, a gristmill, and formal gardens.
George Mason: Forgotten Founder (2006)