Advocates for the Abolition of Slavery: Olaudah Equiano vs. Fredirck Douglass

Advocates for the Abolition of Slavery: Olaudah Equiano vs. Fredirck Douglass

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Farming and building houses on plantations in extreme heat from the beating sun without water does not sound enticing to anyone with the modern technological amenities available in today's world. However, slaves all around the world were subjected to harsh treatment and grueling tasks like these throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. As a way of spreading accounts of these miserable lifestyles, slaves Frederick Douglass and Olaudah Equiano documented their horrifying experiences and published accounts of them. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano highlight the cruelty towards slaves during the era of realism. Although these autobiographies contain many similarities in the manner of their composure, including abolitionist motives and a focus on the separation of families, the dissimilar lives of Equiano and Douglass expose the readers to the brutality of slavery in a multitude of situations.
Both Equiano and Douglass were strong advocates for the abolition of slavery throughout their lives. Although these slaves were living in different areas of the world, they both experienced inhumane treatment from whites. As a result, they both knew that bondage needed to end or otherwise the whites would take absolute control of the black society in the future. Equiano strongly develops an argument that abolition would be a worldwide benefit. He claims, “The abolition of slavery would be in reality an universal good. Tortures, murder, and every other imaginable barbarity and iniquity are practised [sic] upon the poor slaves with impunity” (156). These statements present his view of enslavement, but also explain the anguish that slaves at the time were experiencing. Fre...


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...eir works both describe the tortures of slavery and their support of abolition of slavery. At sea and on land, these writers were faced with countless extreme conditions throughout their lives. Equiano states in his narrative, “I foresaw . . . future hopes of freedom” (79). Through dreams of independence like this one, Douglass and Equiano worked tirelessly during the era of realism to ensure that everyone living in today’s world would experience liberty.



Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Cornhill: Anti-Slavery Office, 1845. iBook file.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. London: Union-Street, 1797. iBook file.
Longo, Julianne. “Frederick Douglass vs. Olaudah Equiano.” Salesianum School. English Department, Wilmington, DE. 6 February 2014. Lecture.

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