[UCP Books]: Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies and Slaves by Marie Jenkins Schwartz


"In this fascinating study, Schwartz shows how deeply slavery was embedded in the Founders’ households and explores in exquisite detail the fraught relationships between these Patriot mistresses and the men and women and adults and children whose labor they commanded."
Jacqueline Jones, author of A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America

 



 

Ties That Bound
Founding First Ladies and Slaves
Marie Jenkins Schwartz


US Publication: April 14, 2017 / International Publication: June 2, 2017

Cloth / $35.00 / £26.50


 




Behind every great man stands a great woman. And behind that great woman stands a slave. Or so it was in the households of the Founding Fathers from Virginia where slaves worked and suffered throughout the domestic environments of the era, from Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Montpelier to the nation’s capital. American icons like Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, and Dolley Madison were all slaveholders. And as Marie Jenkins Schwartz uncovers in Ties That Bound, these women, as the day-to-day managers of their households, dealt with the realities of a slaveholding culture directly and continuously, even in the most intimate of spaces.


For elite women and their families, slaves were more than an agricultural workforce; instead, slavery was an entire domestic way of life that reflected and reinforced their status. In many cases slaves were more constant companions to the white women of the household than were the white men themselves, who often traveled or were at war. Detailing the prevalence and prominence of slaves in the daily lives of women who helped shape the country, Schwartz makes it clear that it is impossible to honestly tell the stories of these women while ignoring the slaves in the background.

 


 

Marie Jenkins Schwartz is professor emeritus of history at the University of Rhode Island. She is also the author of Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South and Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South.


Please contact Levi Stahl at (773) 702 0289 or lstahl@press.uchicago.edu for more information.
 

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