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OMEKA Part 8: Concluding Thoughts and Further Research

When comparing the lives of the enslaved communities at Gunston Hall and Mount Vernon there are certainly more similarities than differences. When analyzing a breadth of aspects of the lives of the enslaved there are small differences that may have improved the quality of life of those living at Mount Vernon, but not many major substantial differences. The goal of this project was to see which enslaved community lived a better life or at least identify the aspects of how their existence differed, but there are gaps in the research into the personal lives of the enslaved and most aspects of their lives. Perhaps it would be easier to compare the enslaved communities if someone other than George Mason was chosen due to many of his papers being lost to time. However, it’s important to compare smaller and less well-known plantations in order to establish what the baseline of life was for the enslaved rather than only analyzing what may be the exception to the rule such as Mount Vernon’s enslaved community.

The lives of the enslaved are shrouded in mystery and comprehensive analysis of the various communities is lacking. The one thing that is clear that more research needs to be done. With the lacking information so far, it is unreasonable to draw any major conclusions such as deciding whether the enslaved at Mount Vernon had better lives than those at Gunston Hall. Archaeological research will be immensely helpful in deciphering the lives of the enslaved and more investigations are necessary to accomplish the ultimate goal of understanding the social and personal lives of the enslaved instead of a broader general understanding.

Further Research;

Mary V. Thompson, The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret, (University of Virginia Press, 2019)

Susan P. Schoelwer, Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, (Nimick Forbesway Foundation 2016)

“The Enslaved Children of George Mason”

Robert F. Dalzell, and Lee Baldwin Dalzell, “Slaves and Overseers” in George Washington’s Mount Vernon: At Home in Revolutionary America (Oxford University Press USA-OSO 2000), 143.

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