owned enslaved people from age eleven until his death, when promised his slaves freedom. His actions and private statements suggest a long evolution in his stance on slavery, based on experience and a possible awakening of conscience. Born in 1732, Washington came of age in a time when large-scale planting, carried out by enslaved labor, dominated the economy and society of . Washington made no official public statements on slavery or emancipation as a Virginia legislator, as a military officer, or as . As a young man he acted as most of his slaveholding peers did—making full and use of slave labor, buying and , and even raffling off a debtor’s slaves, including children, to recoup a loan. His marriage brought many slaves under his control, but he did not legally own these “dower” slaves. After the American Revolution (1775–1783) his private statements became more in line with abolitionist goals than with the economic and political positions of his Virginia peers, until he reached the point, around 1789, when his “regret” over slavery grew so strong that he eventually rewrote his will with provisions to free slaves. Washington was the only southern Founding Father to free all his slaves.