In Clotel or the President’s Daughter, the characters have a tendency to be a great deal too conventional. Brown attempts to place a humane facade on this most vile of American catastrophes in its existence. The propinquity to the stories here are of slave auctions, separation of families, gambling of humans lives, ailing slaves are resold for medical experimentation upon their deaths, suicides and of many more mortifications and brutalities, which no one can accurately describe.
In the event of Thomas Jefferson’s death, the novel begins with the auction of Currer, his believed mistress and their two daughters, Clotel and Althesa. The novel sights the appalling prejudice afflicted, upon the mulatto individuals for the most part, in bondage. To Clotel's relief, her white knight in shining armor, Horatio Green, who is the son of a wealthy Richmond planter, purchases and marries her but the marriage isn’t legal due to an interracial union. Both Althesa and Currer, fall into the hands of the notoriously villainous slave trader Dick Walker. The focus of the story becomes reality as the cruelties of Currer’s master John Peck, the anti-slavery Christianity of Peck's daughter Georgianna, and Georgianna's conversion of Miles Carlton to her true form of Christianity. Miles was a freethinking man whom disliked slavery, especially as he rejected the Christian faith as he witnessed it being misused in supporting the peculiar institution of slavery. Georgianna convinces Miles that the Bible condemns slavery, by means of her persuasive version of Scripture. As a result, the slaves are liberated upon Rev. Peck’s death when his daughter and Miles are married. Even though, Althesa tried her hand at her mother's freedom while the Rev. Peck was still alive, the self-righteous clergyman refused to release her because she was a good cook .Consequently, Currer dies before Georgianna can release her to freedom.
Althesa is sent to New Orleans where she is fortunately to be loved by Henry Morton who buys and marries her. Clotel remains in Richmond and falls into the hands of Horatio Green, who is significantly in love with her, but maintains her in isolation as his mistress for the time being. Althesa's happy life with Henry in New Orleans comes to a sudden end when the two face death while falling ill of Yellow Fever. Their daughters Ellen and Jane learn that they are the children of a slave and are sold to lecherous masters.