Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass’ journey from slave to freed man is infamous for its influence in the abolition movements during the 1800’s. In his narrative, Douglass uses the appeal of ethos in order to establish his stance on the issue of slavery. In addition to that, he uses many of his own personal experiences to not only reveal the hard life of a slave, but to also show that at the time, he had his own thoughts and beliefs about the injustices around him. This shows the audience that slaves are capable of thinking for themselves, having feelings and even have the potential to become educated and live as equals among the whites. Despite his obvious support for the abolition of slavery, Douglass keeps an objective stance and does not only discuss the wrongs of slavery in favor of the blacks; he simply tells the story of his life. Throughout the narrative, he goes into great detail and explains things from both sides because the purpose of his narrative is not to place blame on the slave owners, but to show why slavery is negative in general. Douglass is able to effectively establish ethos because he uses rhetorical strategies such as tone and style in order to not only share his experiences during and after his life as a slave but to also establish his credibility and explain to the audience why slavery is wrong in order to gain their support and promote the awareness for the abolitionist movement.

Douglass starts off the narrative in a way that not only makes the reader think about how hard life as a slave must have been, but also shows the reader that Douglass was intuitive even as a child. He shares different experiences and tells the reader what he thought about each one at the time; usually including a follow up of how his view chang...

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...o not only reveal what kind of terrible things slaves must endure, but also to show that all black people are capable of being much more than slaves. Douglass voices his opinions to move people toward abolitionism and gain support from the white community. The journey from slave to freed man was a very long one, but well worth it because Douglass was a very influential figure during the abolitionary movement and because of his words, many slaves were given the opportunities to make their own journey to freedom.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederik. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. Boston (Mass.): ANdi-slavery Office No. 25 Cornhill, 1845. eBook.

Garrison, Lloyd. Preface. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself. 1845. Anti-Slavery Office No. 25 Cornhill, 1845. 6-20 eBook.
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