Analysis Of Frederick Douglass And Henry David Thoreau

1040 Words5 Pages

Tommy Taylor
History 101 American History to 1877
Instructor Sawicki
June 14, 2015

When you look at today’s government, it is viewed that everyone will be treated equally and decisions will be made in the best interest of the people. But when thinking about the government of the past, one must ask if these same views were expressed by the people of that time? Did everyone fill that they were apart of a just system? According to Frederick Douglass and Henry David Thoreau the answer to that question is no. The government was unjust because so many followed the wrong doings of the law rather than doing what was right, subjected African Americans to harsher punishments
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Douglass and Thoreau both felt as though the government as well as society turned a blind eye to the mistreatment of human beings, especially during slavery. He saw freedom being celebrated, but it just reminded him of how so many were willing to continue on not dealing with all of the wrong that had taken place. Regardless of what he saw before him, he refused to forget. Douglass felt that “to forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking,”. Instead, he chose to deal with the subject of American Slavery, in which he brought out the idea of individuals supporting what was wrong rather than what was…show more content…
This is a terrible reality, but one that reigns true. According to Douglass, “There are seventy-two crimes in the state of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of these same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment,” (Douglass, 2011, p. 780). There was no reasoning behind this ill treatment, other than hatred. In comparison to our other discussions when looking at this matter, “Black Hawk’s Autobiography” comes to mind. He also expressed somewhat the same feelings as Douglass when he stated, “the whites may do bad all their lives, and then, if they are sorry for it when about to die, all is well! But with us it is different: we must continue throughout our lives to do what we conceive to be good,”. Neither Douglass nor Black Hawk could come to grips with why it was okay for whites to do as they pleased, but for others, it was considered to be anything but good. Finally, the government was unjust because of their need to treat black males as animals rather than men. During slavery the high level of cruelty towards slaves made it seem as though the man was an animal and was often referred to as such. Douglass didn’t take kindly to how laws had referenced to slaves as “beast of the field” (Douglass, 2011, p.780). He found it ridiculous that when it came to the law the term “man”
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