George Washington and the Problem of Slavery
This lesson discusses George Washington’s commitment to the principles of freedom and equality in light of the fact that he also owned slaves. The reading examines the problem of slavery in Washington’s world as well as writings and actions by Washington related specifically to the issue of slavery. Discussion questions follow the reading.
Students will analyze historical evidence including primary sources to understand George Washington in relationship to the issue of slavery.
National Council for the Social Studies: Thematic Strands II, V, VI, X
Arizona Academic Standards, Social Studies: 1SS-E16, E17, E18; 2SS-E3, P1
California History-Social Science Content Standards: 8.1, 8.2, 8.4; 11.1; 12.1
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills: Social Studies 8.1, 8.4, 8.8, 8.16, 8.21, 8.23; U.S. Government 1, 2, 3, 16
Richard Brookhiser, Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (New York: The Free Press, 1996)
James Thomas Flexner, Washington: The Indispensable Man (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1969)
Dinesh D'Souza, The End of Racism (Simon & Schuster Trade, 1996).
Thomas G. West, Vindicating the Founders (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997).