Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies And Slaves by Marie Jenkins SchwartzTies That Bound: Founding First Ladies And Slaves by Marie Jenkins Schwartz

Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies And Slaves

byMarie Jenkins Schwartz

Hardcover | April 6, 2017

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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 continually, even in the most intimate of spaces.

Unlike other histories that treat the stories of the First Ladies’ slaves as separate from the lives of their mistresses, Ties That Bound closely examines the relationships that developed between the First Ladies and their slaves. For elite women and their families, slaves were more than an agricultural workforce; 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 their husbands and sons, who often traveled or were at war. By looking closely at the complicated intimacy these women shared, Schwartz is able to reveal how they negotiated their roles, illuminating much about the lives of slaves themselves, as well as class, race, and gender in early America.

By 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 their slaves.  She asks us to consider anew the embedded power of slavery in the very earliest conception of American politics, society, and everyday domestic routines.
 

About The Author

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. 

Details & Specs

Title:Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies And SlavesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:April 6, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022614755X

ISBN - 13:9780226147550

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Introduction     Seen and Unseen

Part 1          Washington

1                      The Widow Washington
2                      Martha Dandridge
3                      Married Lady
4                      Mistress of Mount Vernon
5                      Revolutionary War
6                      First Lady
7                      Slaves in the President’s House
8                      Home Again

Part 2          Jefferson

9                      Martha Wayles
10                    Mistress of Monticello I
11                    War in Virginia
12                    Birth and Death at Monticello
13                    Patsy Jefferson and Sally Hemings
14                    First Lady
15                    Mistress of Monticello II
16                    The Hemingses
17                    Death of Thomas Jefferson

Part 3          Madison

18                    Dolley Payne
19                    Mrs. Madison
20                    First Lady
21                    Mistress of Montpelier
22                    Decline of Montpelier
23                    The Widow Madison
24                    Sale of Montpelier
25                    In Washington
26                    Death of Dolley Madison
Epilogue          Inside and Outside
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“In Ties That Bound, Schwartz provides a necessary corrective to the popular and scholarly literature on the First Ladies, accounts that tend to focus on their roles as fashionable hostesses. 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.  A lively and insightful book that complements—and at times contradicts—works glorifying the Founding Fathers and their wives and (white) daughters.”