Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave

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From before the country’s conception to the war that divided it and the fallout that abolished it, slavery has been heavily engrained in the American society. From poor white yeoman farmers, to Northern abolitionist, to Southern gentry, and apathetic northerners slavery transformed the way people viewed both their life and liberty. To truly understand the impact that slavery has had on American society one has to look no further than those who have experienced them firsthand. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and advocate for the abolitionist, is on such person. Douglass was a living contradiction to American society during his time. He was an African-American man, self-taught, knowledgeable, well-spoken, and a robust writer. Douglass displayed a level of skill that few of his people at the time could acquire. With his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Written by Himself, Douglass captivated the people of his time with his firsthand accounts into the horror and brutality that is the institution of slavery. A staunch abolitionist, Douglass would take the country by storm through the power of his words and writings. His narrative was unique in regards to how it was written and the content it holds. Unlike most biographies of freed slaves, Douglass would write his own story and with his own words. His narrative would attempt to understand the effects slavery was having on not just the slaves, but the slaveholders as well. The success of his biography, however, did not rest on the amount of horror in it but from the unmistakable authenticity it provided. His narrative would compel his readers to take action with graphic accounts of the lashes slaves would receive as punishment, “the loude... ... middle of paper ... ...adiction to American religious ideals of pure, peaceable and impartial conduct. In being a devout man Master Thomas would convert many in the name of the church. His home even became the home of preachers to hold meetings and sermons. Nevertheless, this did not change his demeanor towards his slaves. For all his pious actions, inside Thomas was a vicious man who whipped, beat, and disowned his slaves in a warp sense of duty to the church and god, “Here was a recently-converted man, holding on upon the mother, and at the same time turning out her helpless child, to starve and die!” Works Cited Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. An American Slave Written by Himself. (New Haven, Ct: Yale University Press, 2001) Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert Self. America: A Concise History.( Boston: Bedford, St. Martin's, 2006),

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