Slavery in the United States was legal from its beginning as a nation, having been practiced in British North America from early colonial days. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution formally abolished slavery, though the practice effectively ended with the American Civil War. In total, twelve presidents owned slaves at some point in their lives, eight of whom owned slaves while serving as president. George Washington was the first president to own slaves, including while he was president. Zachary Taylor was the last president to own slaves during his presidency, and Ulysses S. Grant was the last president to have owned a slave at some point in his life.