752 • JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Winter 2020) indefensible, whilo e t hers w ill read the same work and conclude that the historian is too harsh in their criticism of a man who if anything acted in more progressive ways than many of his contemporaries. Annette Gordon- Reed has gone further than any other historian in navigating this treacherous course in her attempts to make clear the horror of r- acial slav ery at Monticello while yet refusing to o sim vp el ri-fy Thomas Jefferson as either a devil or an angel. Perhaps not surprisingly Thompson thinks highly of George Wa- shing ton, and at times her work may appear to exculpate the man regarded as first in the hearts of his white countrymen. But she has done more than any previous historian to humanize Mount Vernon’s enslaved co-mmu nity, who appear more vital than ever before. She acknowledges that as individuals and as a community they resisted the Washingftao mn il y’s control, yet by focusing control an si d r s ta ence in a ninth and final chapter what surely should have been a more prominent theme throughout risks appearing as an afterthought.
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Nov 12, 2020
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