Rhetorical Devices In The Fourth Of July

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When most people hear the words “Fourth of July” they think about fireworks, cookouts, and sparklers. During the 1850’s, the Fourth of July served as a reminder of the many horrors and injustices in the world. On July 4, 1852, Frederick Douglass-- a former American slave, abolitionist leader and adroit speaker-- spoke in Rochester, New York about the affectation of celebrating independence. In his speech, “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery”, he claims celebrating independence is unethical when slavery is widespread. To convince the reader of his claim, he uses rhetorical questions, emotional appeal, and antithesis in hopes of shedding light and sparking action on the wrongful situation. First, Frederick Douglass uses rhetorical questions to elucidate to the listener the many social inequalities between black and white people. For example, Frederick Douglass says, “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice embodied in the Declaration of Independence extended to us?” (para. 1). He is implying that the rights stated in the Declaration of Independence are not given to those of African American race. The audience will begin to realize that they are not treated with the same liberties as those who are considered free. This will get the listeners thinking about what sincerely is happening with the issue of slavery and stimulate interest in the abolitionist mindset. Additionally, the author laconically questions, “What to the American Slave is your Fourth
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