How Does Frederick Douglass Use Syntax

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Many people in America take their freedoms for granted and fail to realize that some people don’t share those freedoms. Fredrick Douglass intended to remind Americans that the Fourth of July is not a day of celebration for African Americans, but a day of mourning. Douglass uses varied syntax, rhetorical questions, and appeals to emotions and logic to prove that slaves are human and that their manhood should be recognized, and to show the irony behind asking a slave to speak at a celebration of independence.

Douglass uses short syntax to display the differences between himself and his audience, as well as long syntax to exaggerate the neverending struggles of African American slaves. Douglass states “I am not that man.” In the sentence proceeding, …show more content…

In the second paragraph of his speech, Douglass asks his audience: “Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day?” He uses this to open his reason for speaking there for interpretation by the audience. Douglass wants his audience to ask themselves why he was there to speak and what he has to do with the day being celebrated. This is ironic because he is asking them why he was there, but later in his speech he shares that he knows why he was asked to speak. He said, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?” This shows that he knows they wanted him to speak, knowing that he is not entitled to the freedom and justice in the Declaration. He feels as though they meant to ridicule him. A man without freedom in America speaking at a celebration of the freedom of America? Douglass continues into his speech with more intensity and accusation. He asks, “On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that a slave is a man?” Following these rhetorical questions, Douglass says there is no need to prove it because “The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government.” They know it’s wrong, yet they continue to deny manhood to people they must deprive in order to make them less human. He references this again further into his speech when he said: “Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong?” He answers this for them by saying: “No! I will not.” This part of his speech is meant to appeal to the audience’s sense of logic. He shares all of the parts of slavery that make it wrong, then proceeds to ask if it is wrong. In this case, it would be hard for the audience to deny the immorality of slavery because it would make them

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