If Hamilton Despised Slavery, Why Didn’t He Confront George Washington Or Other Slaveholders?


An authentic historian, who is known as Annette Gordon-Reed has written extensively about Jefferson and his relationship with the enslaved Sally Hemmings. In his writings, he has argued that it’s not exclusively fair to paint Hamilton as the good guy on the question of slavery, and racism. She discussed it in an interview at Harvard University in 2016.

That Hamilton had been managing slave sales for his wife’s family. At a very young, he had also dealt with keeping the books for a Caribbean trading company that was involved in the slave trade. If we admit this reference, we find that Hamilton’s involvement in the selling of slaves shows that his position against slavery was not outright.

Hamilton Despised Slavery

How Hamilton Did Entered the Slavery Business?

Besides getting married into a slaveholding family, Hamilton operated transactions for the purchase and transfer of slaves as an active part of his project in the Continent Army, and also on behalf of his in-laws. According to a letter that he wrote to Colonel Elias Dayton in 1777, he communicates with George Washington.

As there in the letter, George tells him that Dayton had returned him a Negro lately taken by a party of Militia, which belongs to Mr. Caleb Wheeler. It was before he married Elizabeth, and entered the slavery business with his in-laws.

Hamilton’s liking for Washington

Hamilton remained very close to Washington throughout his entire life. Hamilton assisted as his first Secretary of the Treasury. Washington admired his skills, and intellectual capabilities very much, and on various occasions, he demanded to draft some of his speeches, including the farewell address.

If you are familiar with the history of slavery, you will find that Hamilton had always cared about the feelings of Washington, and most probably he had never offended his boss, who owned slaves. Hamilton had always just followed his superior’s orders, and never hesitated to obey him anyway.

Hamilton

Hamilton As An Active Part of Slavery Business

Although the available evidence doesn’t portray a clear picture of Hamilton’s behavior against slavery, and his inner feelings toward performing this particular duty, his action indicate, at the least, his self-righteousness. After marrying Elizabeth, Hamilton interfered to recover his in-law’s slavery business.

A document reveals that in 1784, his sister-in-law Angelica wrote to her sister Elizabeth a letter, in which she explained that she wanted her slave, Ben, returned. In response to that letter, Hamilton wrote to John Chaloner, a Philadelphia merchant who conducted business transactions for Angelica’s husband, stated, “You are requested if Major Jackson will part with him to buy his remaining time for Mrs. Church and to send him on to me.

In addition, Hamilton also picked up Angelica’s husband John Barker, who was Church’s finances because the couple spent most of their time in Europe. Hamilton instantly deducted $225 from Church’s account for the purchase of “a Negro Woman and Her Child.

Hamilton Met His Desire

How Hamilton Met His Desire to be a Part of Upper Class

Hamilton had always a desire to be a part of the higher class and his relationship with George Washington, and with the Schuyler family made his dream come true. For Hamilton, it was more crucial to promote these relationships than to make a firm stand against slavery.

To be fair, it must be noted that if Hamilton had inflexibly opposed slavery enough to deny aiding the purchase of slaves or the return of slaves, he could never be able to maintain such an influential relationship with the elite class of that time. As a result, his stand on slavery would have made just a little impact on the elimination of the business of slavery.


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