Compare And Contrast Frederick Douglass And Hewes

Powerful Essays
George Robert Twelves Hewes and Frederick Douglass were born nearly 100 years apart. Hewes was born in 1742 and it is estimated that Douglass was born in 1818. Douglass’s birth year is an estimate because he and other slaves were not allowed to know when they were born. Most slaves did not know how old they were. Douglass only found out by overhearing one of his masters talking about it. Hewes on the other hand, was not a slave and knew how old he was. Being able to know or not to know their age was only one of many differences between the two men. Although the two men share many differences, they have many similarities as well. These similarities and differences represent the time periods in which these men grew up. Due to the fact of the…show more content…
His family was far from wealthy and at the age of fourteen years old, Hewes became a shoemaker apprentice. This outlet in life was undesirable for Hewes because “The town’s shoemakers were generally poor and their prospects were worsening” (Young 14). If Hewes were to lead his entire life as a shoemaker, he would be looking at a long life of hard work with little reward. Douglass’s life, too, did not start out very well. Douglass was born into a life of slavery that was cruel and unforgiving. He was born with nothing and in a situation where it seemed like things could not get any worse, they did. Douglass’s father was his master so he had no father figure in his life and his mother was sold soon after he was born. Unfortunately, slave children being separated from their mothers was not uncommon and “Frequently, before the child has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it, and hired out on some farm a considerable distance away” (Douglass 13). While Douglass was never able to experience the value of family, Hewes was able to know the importance of his. Hewes “would receive an inheritance three times in his life, each one a reminder of the importance or potential importance of relatives” (Young 17). Although Hewes thought his start in life was disadvantageous, it was nowhere near as bad as Douglass’s start in life. No matter the severity in poor conditions, however, it is undeniable that both men experienced a less than…show more content…
These books reveal that timing is everything when it comes to the challenges and opportunities of ordinary people. Neither of these men were born into a privileged lifestyle and neither of these men stood out of the ordinary. Hewes was a shoemaker and Douglass was a slave- both holding a low social status during their time. What made them special is that they rose above their less than fair conditions and made something of themselves. The reason that they were able to make a better life for themselves and others is because of the time in which they lived. The conditions that presented themselves allowed these men an opportunity to take a stand and make a change. For Hewes, it was America’s desire to break away from Britain. For Douglass, it was the rising anti-slavery sentiment taking place once America was its own country. If these men did not live during these revolutionary times then they would not have been able to contribute to society in the way that they did. Hewes would not have been able to contribute to the stand against Britain and Douglass would not have played a vital role in the fight to end slavery. Not only do these books show that timing is important, it also shows that anyone can stand up for what they believe in. Hewes and Douglass held no significance in their communities until they made a stand. They went against the odds and became remarkable men who fought for a
Get Access