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.
In 1776, on July 4th, the 13 English colonies officially declared their freedom from England. However, as the years progressed, slavery became incorporated into everyday American life. In 1852, Frederick Douglass, a former slave, was called upon to deliver a speech to celebrate America’s independence; however, he censured Americans for saying they were a “country of the free”. In the speech, Hypocrisy of American Slavery, Frederick Douglass declares that Americans should not be celebrating their freedom when there are slaves living in the country. He uses emotional appeal, ethical appeal, and rhetorical questions to convince his audience that Americans are wrong celebrating freedom on the 4th of July when slavery exists in their country.
Once he escaped slavery in Maryland, Douglass began to lead the abolitionist movement that were taking place in New York and the state of Massachusetts. His leadership, writings, and use of voice allowed for Douglass to achieve and receive great recognition. In New York, Douglass was asked to give a speech to a crowd of believers and supporters of the abolitionist movement. The name of this speech was called, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” In this speech, Douglass explains how although the fourth of July may appear to be a happy and exciting holiday for where people can celebrate their independence, it is a sad day for African Americans.
Fredric Douglass wrote, “What to the Slave is Fourth of July” in 1852. In this speech to the American public, Douglass states how great of a country American “was” and how great the forefathers “were”. In contrast to those statements he professes his reasoning for freeing slaves. However, Mary Rowlandson wrote, “A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson” in 1682. This captive narrative takes place during the King Philips war, and depicts how the native Americans treated their prisoners of war. Although from different eras, both Douglass and Rowlandson use similar techniques such as religion, repetition, and sentimentalism to show that being held captive and slavery is wrong.
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.
In 1776, on July 4th, the 13 English colonies officially declared their freedom from England. However, as the years progressed, slavery became incorporated into everyday American life. In 1852, former slave Frederick Douglass gave a speech to celebrate America’s independence; however, instead of praising the country, he censured Americans for saying they were a “country of the free”. In the speech, Hypocrisy of American Slavery, Frederick Douglass declares that Americans should not be celebrating their freedom when there are slaves living in the country. To convince his audience that Americans are wrong celebrating freedom on the 4th of July when slavery exists in their country, he uses emotional appeal, ethical appeal, and rhetorical questions.
He questions his audience of the significance of Independence Day to slaves, and he answers it in an extremely contrasting way: “your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; … your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery,” that the celebration is “a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” Douglass dismisses the national pride, characterizing it as a mere expression of people’s ignorance. The antithesis, with “greatness” being “vanity,” “sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless,” and “shouts of liberty and equality” being “hollow mockery,” provokes shock and anger from the audience, who have just been part of it and are now degraded as “savages.” However, Douglass was not trying to be inflammatory but provocative, witnessing the pathetic enthusiasm in the anniversary, that people feel exuberant about themselves while ignoring the saddening
Throughout Douglass's speech, he exceeds expectations by adding excellent examples of ethos, pathos, and unique tone. These examples help the audience see his viewpoints and helps him connect with them. The literary devices used in his speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”, aided in his fight against
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.
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.
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.
In “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” by Frederick Douglass, it states “There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States…” (Doc. G). Frederick Douglass hates how the United States celebrate Independence Day even though everyone not everyone is free, slaves. Slavery captivates the human from his or her rights and caused an uprise for the end of slavery. In a Republican nomination speech by Abraham Lincoln, it states “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Doc. M).
The fourth of July and slaves really don’t mix. Frederick douglass was born as a slave and he does a speech on the fourth of july and they are thinking that he is going to give a whora speech but he dont do that it 's the complete opposite of what they thought. In frederick douglass, Hypocrisy of American Slavery he attacks the hypocrisy of a nation celebrating freedom and independence with speeches, parades and platitudes, while, within its borders, nearly four million humans were being kept as slaves. Overall douglass has explained his speech through emotional,ethical,logical appeal and through rhetorical questions.
“The Hypocrisy of American Slavery: Slavery at its best” Frederick Douglass an activist for anti racism and also an abolitionist’s speech “The Hypocrisy of Slavery” was given on the occasion of celebrating the independence day. Here, in this speech he actually brought out some questions like why we should celebrate Independence Day while almost four million people were kept chained as a slave. He actually mocked the fact of the people of America’s double standards which is that they are singing out the song of liberty, on the other hand holding the chain of slavery. Frederick Douglass, a former American-African slave who managed to escape from his slavery and later on became an abolitionist gave this speech on Fourth of July,