Frederick Douglass Dream For Equality

1173 Words3 Pages

Frederick Douglass' Dream for Equality

Abolition stopped Frederick Douglass dead in his tracks and forced him to reinvent himself. He learned the hard central truth about abolition. Once he learned what that truth was, he was compelled to tell it in his speeches and writings even if it meant giving away the most secret truth about himself. From then on, he accepted abolition for what it was and rode the fates.
The truth he learned about abolition was that it was a white enterprise.
It was a fight between whites. Blacks joined abolition only on sufferance.
They also joined at their own risks. For a long time, Douglass, a man of pride and artfulness, denied this fact.
For years there had been disagreements among many abolitionists. Everyone had their own beliefs towards abolition. There was especially great bitterness between Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, dating from the early 1850's when
Douglass had repudiated Garrisonian Disunionism. Garrisonians supported the idea of disunion. Disunion would have relieved the North of responsibility for the sin of slavery. It would have also ended the North's obligation to enforce the fugitive slave law, and encourage a greater exodus of fugitive slaves from the South. (161,162 Perry) Douglass did not support this idea because it would not result in the complete abolition of slavery. Blacks deserved just as much freedom as whites. He believed that the South had committed treason, and the
Union must rebel by force if necessary. Astonished by Garrison's thoughts,
Douglass realized that abolition was truly a war between whites. Garrison, and many others, had failed to see the slaves as human beings.
Were blacks then supposed to be irretrievably black in a white world ?
Where is the freedom and hope if all great things are privilege only to the whites? Douglass resolved never again to risk himself to betrayal. Troubled,
Douglass did not lose faith in his beliefs of abolishing slavery. However, he did reinvent his thinking.
Douglass eventually made his way with what amounted to the applied ideas of Alexis de Tocqueville and Fancis Grund, both of which were writing at the time when Douglass realized the truth about abolition. Grund and Tocqueville celebrated the “new man,” the “self-made” men who were breaking through old restraints. These restraints included monopolized privileges, restricted franchises, and the basic refusal of the main chance of equal opportunity. The blacks were confronted by the most vicious and deadly restraints any “new man” had been compelled to face in the United States. This was horrendous, but it was not insurmountable.
Douglass decided that the separation between whites was an advantage to his

Open Document