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George Washington Could Not Afford To End Slavery and The Underground Railroad In his writings George Washington felt very strongly that slavery was an institution that needed to be eliminated from American society However there were several circumstances that arose following the American Revolution that would prevent Washington from actively pursuing the elimination of slavery during his lifetime It is certainly plausible that George Washingtons personal economic short-comings forefront in the setting of conflicting political agendas and the nations revolutionary climate prevented this founding father from actively pursuing the nationwide emancipation of slaves Prior and during the American Revolution little was written by Washington on his feelings about slavery In the last year of the war and thereafter more attention was spent by Washington on the issue of slavery On February 5 1783 Washington received a letter from Marquis de Lafayette whom Washington considered both a friend and a son that stated Let us unite in purchasing a small estate where we may try the experiment to free the negroes and use them only as tenants Such an example as yours might render it a general practice Sparks v3 p547 It is doubtful that Lafayette would have proposed this idea unless he knew that Washington had strong views on seeing the elimination of slavery Washington wrote back to Lafayette on April 5 The scheme to encourage the emancipation of the black people of this Country from that state of Bondage in which they are held is a striking evidence of the benevolence of your Heart I shall be happy to join you is so laudable a work Fitzpatrick v26 p300 Unfortunately Washington was still in charge of the American troops and would be so until December so he thought it would be best to defer going into a detail of the business till I have the pleasure of seeing you Fitzpatrick v26 p300 However when Washington finally did return home in December he found himself
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