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Jeffersonian Dinner

Considering the Story of George Washington's Runaway Slave Ona Judge and Presidential Use of Executive Authority


In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson’s own open, frank and challenging conversations, we invite you to join us for an engaging discussion over a nice meal and a glass of wine.

Our moderator and special guests will provide backgound, context and some initial thoughts. Then, conversation will move to the tables.

This evening, on his 288th birthday, we will consider if George Washington violated Pennsylvania’s 1780 Gradual Abolition Act as president residing in the new nation’s capital of Philadelphia, based on the story of Ona Judge. Pennsylvania’s 1780 Gradual Abolition Act and a 1788 amendment granted manumission to slaves resident in Pennsylvania for over six months.

Oney, as she was known, was enslaved to Martha Washington and took her freedom while serving the Washington family in Philadelphia. Should Congress have rebuked, or even impeached, Washington for his active disregard of this state law? If so, how might this have impacted the way subsequent presidents viewed Executive Authority?

Join us for a three course meal, beer and wine and stimulating conversation. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are strictly limited to assure a meaningful experience.

Jeffersonian Dinner Event Details

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