Frederick Douglass addressed the graduates at Western Reserve College on July 12, 1824. Douglass speech used a formal tone with advance word choices to target his educated audience. In his speech “The Claims of the Negro Ethnology Considered”, he makes two main claims challenging the claims of white men. One, black people are humans and should be treated as humans. Douglass explains that black people possess all the qualities that qualify someone as human. He continued to explain that white and black people, in America, come from different backgrounds, they both share the same origins. Therefore, America denying black people rights granted to all humans is immoral. His second claim is that white people separate black people from humanity in
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.
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.
Freedom is the primary ideal upon which America was founded. It is the tenet most cherished by the original colonists; it is a pillar upon which they built the new government. However, freedom was denied to a large part of America's citizens for a long time. Frederick Douglas was one of the greatest activists for African-American freedom of the 19th century; he used literary works and speeches, instead of violence, to achieve his goals. In his piece "What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?" he uses bold words and biting criticism to call attention to the gross injustices and hypocrisy of slavery in the United States.
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.
Frederick Douglass’s “What the Black Man Wants” captures the need for change in post Civil War America. The document presses the importance for change, with the mindset of the black man being, ‘if not now then never’. Parallel to this document is the letter of Jourdon Anderson, writing to his old master. Similar to Douglas, Mr. Anderson speaks of the same change and establishes his worth as freed man to his previous slave owner. These writings both teach and remind us about the evils of slavery and the continued need for equality, change, and reform.
Douglass encountered multiple harsh realities of being enslaved. For example, the ex-slave was practically starved to death by his masters on multiple occasions. In fact, “[He was] allowed less than a half of a bushel of corn-meal per week, and very little else...It was not enough for [him] to subsist upon...A great many times [he had] been nearly perishing with hunger” (pg 31). Douglass managed to overcome the maltreatment of his wretched slave owners through the eventual attainment of freedom. The injustice imposed upon the African-American slaves by their owners was the crux of Douglass’s motivation to escape this inhumane life. Adolescents in today’s society could use Frederick’s determination as an example of moving forward to better oneself or one’s situation regardless of
Fredrick Douglass was born enslaved,but he escaped to freedom. He became an outspoken opponent of slavery and a civil rights advocate. He lectured widely and even published his own newspapers. In this excerpt, I have learned the most important event that occurred in his life and why its important, the reason why he compared the enslavers to criminals, and the reason why he wished to be an animal.
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.
Many people when they hear the words “Fourth of July” they think about fireworks, cookouts, and sparklers! During the 1850’s it is a day that reminded many of the horrors and injustices in the world. On July 4, 1852 Frederick Douglass, a former American slave and an abolitionist leader, spoke in Rochester, New York about the affectation of celebrating independence. In his speech, “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery” he claims celebrating independence when there are slaves widespread is unethical. To convince the reader of his claim he uses rhetorical questions, word choice and anthesis in hopes to shed light and spark action on the wrongful situation.
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.
Frederick Douglass, born a slave and later the most influential African American leader of the 1800s, addresses the hypocrisy of the US of maintaining slavery with its upheld ideals being freedom and independence on July 4th, 1852. Douglass builds his argument by using surprising contrasts, plain facts, and provocative antithesis.
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.
Because of the statuses of each person who attends Douglass’ school, they have a common ground to discuss with each other. Although Douglass is not technically a slave like most of the others learning from him, he still is in the lowest social tier and African American. Because of their corresponding similarities, the slaves and Douglass bond over their hardships while understanding what the others are going through. It is easy to sympathize with each other because they are in the same situation. During the time period this was written, society purposely made African American slaves feel like they didn’t belong and like they were outcasts. However, Douglass manages to bring them together and start their own community that is positive and forward thinking. Everyone was thrilled to go to their sessions with Douglass, “We loved each other, and to leave them at the close of the Sabbath was a sever cross indeed” (49). They were more than pleased to be there and looked forward to their time spent with him.
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.