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Founding Fathers
American Revolution

Which Founding Fathers owned slaves?


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November 30, 2010 2:04AM

Bassett, Blair, Blount, Butler, Carroll, Jenifer, Jefferson, Mason, Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Rutledge, Spaight, and Washington and Madison. Ben Franklin owned a few but freed them and then started the Philadelphia Anti Slavery Society. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Adams, Sam Adams and Thomas Paine did not own slaves and several of them were abolitionists, a few creating a school for black freedmen in New York. Washington also freed his slaves upon his death, however, over half of Washington's slaves were dowry slaves from his wife's first marriage and could not be freed by his will. They were not freed upon his death and Martha never freed them. This was quite devastating to the over 300 slaves on the Washington plantation because it tore apart many families, as freed blacks and slaves were not allowed to live together and as more and more of them were split amongst Martha's children and grandchildren.