Analysis of Frederick Douglass, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

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A human being is a complicated entity of a contradictory nature where creative and destructive, virtuous and vicious are interwoven. Each of us has gone through various kinds of struggle at least once in a lifetime ranging from everyday discrepancies to worldwide catastrophes. There are always different causes and reasons that trigger these struggles, however, there is common ground for them as well: people are different, even though it is a truism no one seems to able to realize this statement from beyond the bounds of one’s self and reach out to approach the Other. The concept of the Other is dominant in Frederick Douglass’s text “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”, for it determines the main conflict and illuminates the issue of intolerance and even blasphemy regarding the attitude of white Americans towards Negroes. The text was written as a speech to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and delivered at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall on July 5, 1852. It was a remarkable articulation of the Black people voice living in the United States of America at that point of time because Black people were going through too much humiliation on physical and moral levels (Andrews, 1991, p.46). In order to get to the gist of the speech and reveal the emotional resonance it creates, a historical background timeline needs to be sketched. The period of the 1850s in the USA was especially tough for slaves due to several significant events that happened within this period of time. First of all, there was Nashville Convention held on June 3, 1850 the goal of which was to protect the rights of slaveholders and extend the dividing line northwards. September 18 of the same year brought the Fugitive Slave Act according ... ... middle of paper ... ... William Lloyd Garrison the main idea of which is to set free the enslaved ones and establish legal state based on true democracy and equality of people. This moment is especially powerful because it allows Douglass to extend the scope of his influence. He makes an attempt to show that all people are the same, there are no exceptions. There will also come times when things will change as long as there are people who can recognize and tolerate otherness without harming this Other. Works Cited Andrews, William L. Critical Essays on Frederick Douglass. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1991. Chapman, Mary, Glenn Hendler. Sentimental Men: masculinity and the politics of affect in American culture. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1999. Foner, Philip S. The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Volume II Pre-Civil War Decade 1850-1860. NY: International Publishers Co., Inc., 1950

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