Douglass And Resistance

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In Douglass’s speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”, he makes the controversial claim that in certain circumstances when peaceful means fail, violent resistance is not only justified, but necessary. The arguments Douglass makes prove that it is in fact a necessary form of resistance needed in order to produce substantial results. When all else fails and the desired outcome still has not been achieved, more action needs to be taken in order to do what’s right. This is proven from texts by Douglass, S.K. Bryant, and Davis, as well as the more recent example of riots that broke out in Ferguson, Missouri. Violent resistance should never be the immediate route when trying to bring about change. It should only be the final route when…show more content…
Douglass makes sure to remind his audience that their “fathers were wise men”, and so their decision to engage in violent resistance was just as well a wise decision (Douglass 111). Perhaps the most compelling argument Douglass makes throughout the entirety of the speech is that The United State’s fathers “were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. You may well cherish the memory of such men” (Douglass 113). Including this points out how America’s founding fathers are cherished for the change they brought about through the means of violent resistance. If they could be celebrated for such actions, how can the enslaved be so reprimanded for taking part in the same determined fight? The founding fathers felt enslaved by the crown of England and took the necessary measures to end their oppression, and that fight was a roadmap for the fight against slavery. This argument that, in certain circumstances, resisting injustice is more important than obeying the law, is expressed in the text “Colonial Latin America” by S. K. Bryant. He discusses the various forms of resistance pursued…show more content…
Although both peaceful protests and violent riots took place, the riots were what caught attention and led to the larger discussion of black rights (MSNBC). An article that came out in response to the riots, as well as arguments that violence was not the proper response, states that “in a number of cases, crisis caused by riots and property destruction has had a significant role in forcing authorities to respond to demands for political change” (Aljazeera). Word for word this argues the exact point Douglass does in his speech. The riots may have occurred over a year ago, but they are still actively brought up in many controversial racial events to date. Because of the drastic, violent action the rioters pursued, they made their wishes prevalent which in turn was able to start a nationwide discussion of what needs to be done to improve rights for all people. An article from USA Today wrote that “the ensuing images on national television could become as much of a catalyst for social change as peaceful protests”, which directly agrees with Douglass’s claim (USA Today). The article includes a quote from a woman witnessing the riots saying “You cannot quiet us down. You cannot tell us to shut up. This is our movement…this is our time”, sounding very similar
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