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Princeton and South Carolina
Princeton alumni from South Carolina owned successful plantations, large numbers of slaves, and served as leaders in the Confederate cause during the Civil War.
Slavery in the Witherspoon Family
As Princeton president John Witherspoon’s children married and left New Jersey, their relationships to slavery were shaped by the political climate and economy of their new homes throughout the North and South.
John Witherspoon (1723-1794), Princeton’s sixth president and founding father of the United States, had a complex relationship to slavery. Though he advocated revolutionary ideals of liberty and personally tutored several free Africans and African Americans in Princeton, he himself owned enslaved people and both lectured and voted against the abolition of slavery in New Jersey.