Frederick Douglass Rhetorical Analysis Essay On Hypocrisy

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The idea of freedom has always been an ever changing concept, its definition always being redefined to encompass more people under its protection. In Frederick Douglass's speech, “What to the slave is the fourth of July,” he touches on the general idea of freedom as it pertains to the enslaved. However, his intent extends further than just addressing the hypocrisy of the American holiday. He uses his speech as a means to address the constructs of how the country colonizes and disrespects the black mind. Douglass’s diction in his speech is overly flowery, with the excuse that as a black man he must be a little pompous to display his knowledge and credibility through spoken word. Although the speech is extremely well written and embodied with …show more content…

He starts by addressing the whitewashed image of humanity that is forced upon him and other minorities. During this time, slavery was viewed as an economic profit and a source of free labor. This resulted in an America that was built entirely on the backs of slaves as they were, “erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron and copper” (Douglass). The idea of racism came secondary as it worked hand in hand with keeping the racial hierarchy needed to maintain slavery. However, racism involves more than just the people trapped in servitude. It affects those like Frederick Douglass,who escaped slavery, and those untouched by slavery, such as the, “Lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets etc” (Douglass), that they had among them. Everyone of African descent was subject to this twisted image of humanity that supported the superiority of white people. “We are called upon to prove that we are men!” (Douglas). The idea was to go deeper than just dehumanizing the enslaved to maintain the power of servitude. It broadens to dehumanize the black community as a whole, including those who existed and remained untouched by slavery, to maintain the power of superiority. The idea of humanity was used to socially oppressed people of color and keep them in place of the racial

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