The legendary abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass was one of the most important social reformers of the nineteenth century. Being born into slavery on a Maryland Eastern Shore plantation to his mother, Harriet Bailey, and a white man, most likely Douglass’s first master was the starting point of his rise against the enslavement of African-Americans. Nearly 200 years after Douglass’s birth and 122 years after his death, The social activist’s name and accomplishments continue to inspire the progression of African-American youth in modern society. Through his ability to overcome obstacles, his strive for a better life through education, and his success despite humble beginnings, Frederick Douglass’s aspirations stretched his influence through
“That this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system”, and that Frederick Douglass does in his eponymous autobiography. Douglass throws light by dispelling the myths of the slave system, which received support from all parts of society. To dispel these myths Douglass begins to construct an argument composed around a series of rhetorical appeals and devices. Douglass illustrates that slavery is dehumanizing, corrupting, and promotes Christian hypocrisy.
Slavery is equally a mental and a physical prison. Frederick Douglass realized this follow-ing his time as both a slave and a fugitive slave. Douglass was born into slavery because of his mother’s status as a slave. He had little to go off regarding his age and lineage. In the excerpt of the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave,” Douglass discusses the horrors of being enslaved and a fugitive slave. Through Douglass’s use of figurative language, diction and repetition he emphasizes the cruelty he experiences thus allowing readers to under-stand his feelings of happiness, fear and isolation upon escaping slavery.
The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass shows the imbalance of power between slaves and their masters. In his book, Douglass proves that slavery is a destructive force not only to the slaves, but also for the slaveholders. “Poison of the irresponsible power” that masters have upon their slaves that are dehumanizing and shameless, have changed the masters themselves and their morality(Douglass 39). This amount of power and control in contact with one man breaks the kindest heart and the purest thoughts turning the person evil and corrupt. Douglass uses flashbacks that illustrate the emotions that declare the negative effects of slavery.
In America, opposition to slavery started with acts of defiance such as “slave resistance”, where African American slaves would rebel in several ways to attain greater freedom. While this “revolution” gathered steam, with slaves often running away from their masters and finding shelter in swamps, lakes or in cities that believed in their cause, more organized forms of opposition, led by reformers like William Garrison (Document E), who founded The American Anti-Slave Society, also started gaining traction. The growing opposition to slavery, by both slaves and their white sympathizers, eventually culminated in a determined abolitionist movement that highlighted the plight of so many and galvanized public opinion against an appalling institution.
In Douglass’s earlier years as a slave, he held a more optimistic outlook on his situation. In particular, when Douglass learned to read he began reading documents that contained argument against slavery and in doing so, he became conscious of the true horror of slavery. He writes, “I often found myself regretting my own existence and wishing myself dead…” (ch. VII). However, he continues, saying “...and but for the hope of being free, I have no doubt but that I should have killed myself…”(ch. VII). Even upon realizing the evil around him, and despite times
Abolitionism was a well-known movement around the time of the Civil War and its aim was to put an end to slavery. The people of the early nineteenth century viewed the elimination of slavery in numerous ways. Some fought against the end of slavery, some appeared to mildly support the cause and yet others wholeheartedly supported the ending of slavery until their dying day.
Frederick Douglass was a great writer, but he wasn’t always. He was an escaped slave who used that in his speeches as a topic to gain the attention of his audience. His audience was a seemingly sympathetic one and got to them through rhetorical questions. Douglass wanted to convey the message that there are many changes that need to be made.
Frederick Douglass demonstrates the importance of community and building bonds and trust. The slave community was unbreakable, they would do anything to help another slave.
In “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, Douglass narrates in detail the oppressions he went through as a slave before winning his freedom. In the narrative, Douglass gives a picture about the humiliation, brutality, and pain that slaves go through. We can evidently see that Douglass does not want to describe only his life, but he uses his personal experiences and life story as a tool to rise against slavery. He uses his personal life story to argue against common myths that were used to justify the act of slavery. Douglass invalidated common justification for slavery like religion, economic argument and color with his life story through his experiences torture, separation, and illiteracy, and he urged for the end of slavery.
Although a century apart, Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and Frederick Douglass’s What to a Slave is the fourth of July are kindred spirits. Notwithstanding the many differences in their respective writing styles, deep down the essence of the message conveyed is still very much the same. Both Martin Luther King Junior and Frederick Douglas had similar beliefs and concepts related to the treatment of the African American community. They both describe a tough yet heart breaking situation that makes them question their moral values and doubt the system and its ability to change for better. Both King and Douglass were advocating for the same thing: their constitutional sanction of freedom.
Douglass is a African American that was a slave and did a Narrative about his time being a slave and in his Narrative he “threw light” at the American slave system. African American slave Frederick Douglass lived through a time of racism and how slavery was a natural thing to do but was a very awful thing. And slavery is when families who had colored skin were separated and sold of to a person that can do anything to them, the slave is pretty much like the slaveholder’s property. And in this essay I will talk about how Douglass’s position differs from those who supported slavery and also I will be talking about How Douglass used his Narrative to share his position.
Education is the light at the end of the tunnel, when Frederick uses it he discovers hope. In the story the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick goes through many struggles on his path to freedom, showing us the road from slavery to freedom. At the beginning of the book, Douglass is a slave in both body and mind. When the book ends, he gets both his legal freedom and frees his mind. The path to freedom was not easy, but it got clearer when he got an education. Education gives hope for Douglass’s life since he began to truly understand what goes on in slavery. As he figured out more about the topic, his self motivation poured out hope in his life.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery as the son of a white slave master father and a black slave mother in Maryland in 1818. He escaped from slavery in 1838 because of his literacy. It was only due to his ability to read, write, and think critically that Frederick Douglass was able to find his way form enslavement to freedom.
Human slavery requires ignorance, just as an individual’s freedom, from oppression, requires knowledge attained by education. To maintain order and control over slaves, slavery demands ignorant slaves; thus, keeping slaves ignorant prevents slaves from recognizing the empowering value of education and education’s ability to liberate slaves from the effects of ignorance. Frederick Douglass’s pursuit of education helped him discover the dark, hidden truths of slavery in his article, “How I Learned to Read and Write.” Thus, the pursuit of education inspires a desire for freedom.