Ralph Earl (1751—1801)

attrib. Ralph Earl (1751—1801)

Oil on canvas. Buckman Tavern, Lexington Historical Society, Lexington, MA.

by Ralph Earl (1751—1801)

Oil on canvas; 64 5/8 in. x 49 5/8 in. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

by Amos Doolittle (1754—1832)

Engraving on copper; colored. First advertised for sale in New Haven, Connecticut, on 13 December 1775.

by Amos Doolittle (1754—1832)

Engraving on copper; colored. First advertised for sale in New Haven, Connecticut, on 13 December 1775.

by Amos Doolittle (1754—1832)

Engraving on copper; colored. First advertised for sale in New Haven, Connecticut, on 13 December 1775.

by Amos Doolittle (1754—1832)

See original

by Amos Doolittle (1754—1832)

Engraving on copper; colored. First advertised for sale in New Haven, Connecticut, on 13 December 1775.

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)