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Rhetorical Analysis Of Douglas's Speech By Frederick Douglass

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This speech by Frederick Douglass was delivered on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, NY. While it was a total success at the time it was given, most of those who read it after it became published were not so agreeable to it after all. Here Frederick Douglass seeks to use persuasion in order to bring people to his abolitionist position. Even though many Northerners were anti-slavery, they were not abolitionists. Their main aim was to prevent slavery to be spread to the Northern territories, not to completely abolish it. Douglass knew this and therefore wanted to offer a different perspective about what abolition meant on a day as the 4th of July. Moreover, he also sought to change the minds of the white man about the intelligence and abilities…show more content…
He mentions how he, an escaped slave, has been invited to talk about freedom, in commemoration of the 4th of July anniversary. Not only here, but throughout the text of his speech, we see how Douglass makes use of irony as a tool to promote his ideals and to emphasize some themes. While his describes his powers of speech as limited, along with his experience in public speaking, later on he reminds his audience that this is not the first time he has been invited to speak at the venue, and even many of those who are present have seen him talk before. While portraying himself as a humble man, he uses this strategy to establish his authority as a…show more content…
This is the same distance that divides American society, and therefore he ensures that the difference in perspectives and attitudes toward the 4th of July that exists between both sides is present and felt by his listeners. He expresses hope on the fact that the American nation is still young, and therefore its character hasn’t been established yet, nor its future has been carved in its totality. Douglass sees this as a chance for American society to change and to abandon slavery and discrimination for once and for all. However, he also mentions, through various metaphors, that if abolition doesn’t occur in America, then the country will either be benefited or destroyed by it, or it could be morally drained (“Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land … they may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship... As with rivers so with
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