More than 1,700 people who served in the U.S. Congress in the 18th, 19th and even 20th century were slaveholders at some point in their lives, according to a Washington Post investigation of censuses and other historical records.
Until now, there has never been a comprehensive list of slaveholding members of Congress.

This database helps reveal the glaring holes in many of the stories that Americans tell about the country’s history.
On March 7, 1850, as Sen. Daniel Webster delivered a famous speech about slavery, 45 of the 106 congressmen listening owned human beings.

Those slaveholders included Jefferson Davis, Andrew Johnson and Sam Houston. For the first seven decades of its existence, Congress retur
Enslavers in Congress represented 37 states, including not just the South but every state in New England, much of the Midwest, and many Western states.

The country is still grappling with the legacy of lawmakers’ embrace of slavery.
The same is true of the White House. Of the first 18 U.S. presidents, 12 were enslavers, including eight during their presidencies.
The link between race and political power in early America echoes in complicated ways, from the racial inequities that persist to this day to the polarizing fights over voting rights and the way history is taught in schools. "There's very little acknowledgment of the degree that
Many of these lawmakers’ statues stand in town squares across the country, and their names adorn streets and public schools, with almost no public acknowledgment that they were enslavers.

Use our searchable database here:
To create the database, we reviewed 18th- and 19th-century census records and other documents, including wills, journal articles and plantation records.

But we couldn’t reach a conclusion on 677 additional members of Congress. That’s where you come in.
We're open-sourcing our database. If you’re an academic or historian wanting to use this data, it’s accessible here:…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with The Washington Post

The Washington Post Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @washingtonpost

12 Jan
The United States continues to see a huge spike in coronavirus cases driven by the omicron variant, with numbers surging to double that of the previous January 2021 peak. Image
But despite surging case numbers, deaths and severe hospitalizations rates have not followed that rise quite as intensely.

Health-care workers are cautiously waiting to see if the United States’ omicron wave will follow that of South Africa and London.
So far, omicron seems much more contagious, but less likely to result in death or severe hospitalizations.

Though the variant causes fewer hospitalizations, the much higher infection rate still means the hospitalization number has passed a record number. Image
Read 5 tweets
8 Jan
If you were living near the U.S. Gulf Coast, Northeast, or Southwest in 2021, you were no stranger to lightning.

In fact, newly released data show those regions experienced more lightning last year than the previous five years on average.
Lightning is a large natural spark of electricity, caused by an imbalance of electrical charges in the atmosphere.

Most lightning is formed from thunderstorm clouds, which develop when warm, moist air rises into cold air, often during warmer seasons.
Vaisala sensors detected more than 194 million lightning events in 2021, about 24 million more than 2020, which was an extremely low year.

Despite the increase, the nation’s lightning in 2021 was below recent averages for the second year in a row.
Read 5 tweets
7 Jan
Kazakhstan's president called on troops to “shoot to kill” protesters as the Central Asian nation faces anti-government demonstrations.

Here’s how, in less than a week, anger over rising fuel prices led to a deadly crackdown in the country.
On Saturday, the government lifted price caps on liquefied petroleum gas, which is used to operate most vehicles. Kazakhstan is an oil-rich nation but the move caused the price of fuel to skyrocket, roughly doubling overnight and sparking anger in the western region of Mangistau.
By Tuesday, the uprisings in the country's west had spread to other regions. About 5,000 people gathered in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city.

The demonstrations became less about the fuel-cap decision and more about dissatisfaction with those in charge.
Read 5 tweets
6 Jan
LIVE NOW: Today is the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

@Rho_Co, @LindseySitz, @pkcapitol and @jameshohmann are discussing their memories of the day and how the attack changed Congress now on @TwitterSpaces, hosted by @libcasey:…
Video: Sen. Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Lofgren (D-Calif.) head committees that are addressing security gaps exposed on Jan. 6. They discuss what’s been accomplished, what lies ahead.…
"It's terrifying on many levels because you can't control it. ... Anyone who is going to scale a wall is probably not going to stop once they get in. It was hard to watch."

@Rho_Co recalls being inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6:…
Read 5 tweets
6 Jan
Trump’s assault on American democracy began in 2020, when he issued a flurry of preemptive attacks on the integrity of the country’s voting systems.

The doubts he cultivated ultimately led to a rampage inside the U.S. Capitol a year ago today.
While the public may have been surprised by what happened on Jan. 6, the makings of the insurrection had been spotted at every level, from one side of the country to the other.

The red flags were everywhere.
Intelligence officials never envisioned a mass attack against the government incited by a sitting president.

Yet Trump was the driving force at every turn as he orchestrated what would become an attempted political coup leading up to Jan. 6. Trump tweet reading: JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!Trump tweet reading: "Washington is being inundated wit
Read 6 tweets
6 Jan
Live updates: Nation marks anniversary of Jan. 6 storming of U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump mob
No members of Republican leadership have said they plan to attend Thursday’s events commemorating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob…
Biden is marking the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack by addressing Trump’s culpability. Watch our live coverage.…
Read 7 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!