Frederick Douglass

Powerful Essays
Frederick Douglass's Disguised Message

Frederick Douglass, a firm believer in equality, was one of the most influential leaders of the abolitionist movement in America. An ex-slave, Douglass pushed for abolition and brought attention to the subject through his commanding speeches and his powerful writings. Among his writings Douglass published his autobiography "Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" , which is indeed one of his more famous pieces of work. Douglass uses his own life and personal experiences to describe what life was like for a slave at the time. Although seen as a simple autobiography of his life, the text goes deeper with components that would ultimately affect the northern audience's view on southern slaveholders. Targeting the Northern audience was crucial because they were the only group he could persuade enough to change the way things were. Douglass used his life story as a propaganda device to promote and drive the abolition movement among northerners.

Before Douglass begins his life story , the preface written by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, prepares the reader for the abolitionist message that is really behind Douglass's Narrative. The preface focuses on Garrison's admiration for Douglass and his cause. He describes hearing Douglass speak for the first time and states "I think I never hated so intensely as at that moment..."(2065). Garrison also demonstrates how devoted to abolition and persuading Douglass is by writing "..if Mr. Douglass could be persuaded to consecrate his time and talents to the promotion of the anti-slavery enterprise, a powerful impetus would be given to it, and a stunning blow..inflicted on northern prejudice against a colored complexion."(2066). To furt...

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Using his written word and combining all the factors used to affect his audience, Douglass hoped to shed light upon the true nature of a slave holder and the practice of slavery. He knew his boundaries and did not try to promote a movement towards total civil rights; his intent was to motivate enough people to join his movement and fight for abolition. Douglass hoped his readers would become sympathetic towards the still enslaved using his own real experiences such as having no father, being separated from his mother, how the slaves were treated like animals, and the brutal punishments and killings without justice. Douglass also expected to place a black mark on southern slave holders by telling us how they had affairs with the slaves and used religion as support for their actions.

Douglass strived to make readers imagine themselves in his position.
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