Frederick Douglass: The Narrative And My Bondage And Freedom

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The people living in the New World’s British colonies began fighting for their independence in 1775. The Americans were fighting for the right to worship as they wanted, the right to be represented in laws that they believed in, for the right to have a more vested interest in their natural resources, and most importantly for American citizens to be seen as equals in the eyes of the law as well as on the world’s stage. In this response we will look at writings from influential figures before, during, and after the 1783 independence of America and discussing the ideas for America and the realities in America. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was an English born Revolutionary war activist who wrote some of the most influential pro-independence literature…show more content…
He grew up cold and hungry until he was moved to live as a house slave for a little boy in Baltimore. As a 7 or 8 year old in Baltimore he learned that education was the “pathway from slavery to freedom.” (1197) He spent the next few years secretly learning to read and write. Eventually Douglass escaped slavery and moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he would get married, raise his children and become an abolitionist fighting for the end of slavery. Douglass wrote influential anti-slavery works The Narrative and My Bondage and Freedom where he gave men and women of every race and social class their possible first look into the harsh realities of the life of a slave. He stands as a stark contradiction to the American freedoms that Thomas Paine wrote about, and the unimaginative unteachable slaves that Thomas Jefferson wrote about. Frederick Douglass “challenged the nation to living up to its founding ideals by invoking the principles of the Declaration of Independence.” (1170) It was interesting to read about Douglass’ fiction novella The Heroic Slave in which, like Jefferson suggested, after slavery ended instead of desegregation the blacks moved to the Caribbeans in the south. Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) was an African American woman who was born into slavery, “but [she] never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away.” (921) I believe that this detail is hugely important in Jacobs’ self worth, confidence, and defiance against her owners. She

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