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Slavery and Fredrick Douglas

Powerful Essays
It is said that history is written by the victors or those that have managed to stay in power. This history when written often overlooks or tries to silence completely the voices of those defeated. Even the United States is not immune to this revision of facts. We can easily see this throughout our own national history, especially the time period centered on slavery.
In order to fully understand why revising history to suit the victor’s one must look at the accounts of those defeated (if they happen to survive the revision). In looking at the issues surrounding slavery we can compare a few accounts from escaped and free slaves to that of a couple prominent southern whites who attempted to justify and support slavery. The accounts of the slaves are graphic and at times disturbing but help to paint a clearer picture of the historic events at the time.
Unfortunately written accounts of the ordeals that the slaves have gone through are rather rare. Many slaves after all were prevented from learning how to read and write. However the few written accounts available are able to help illustrate the grim reality they went through. These writings can easily be contested with a typical history book which often deals with the problems slavery caused clinically with little detail on how brutal the institution was.
To explore the problem of not only revisionist history but of slavery itself we turn to 19th century American writer Fredrick Douglas. Douglas was an escaped slave, and also one of the few that were able to write down and get published his account of his treatment from plantation owners and overseers. His account is very detailed and at sometimes rather graphic, and compares his treatment from many different masters thro...

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Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. (1845). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Boston: Anti
Slavery Office
Jacobs, Harriet A. (1861). The Trials of Girlhood. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Independence Hall Association. 2014. “The Southern Argument for Slavery.” Accessed April 19. http://www.ushistory.org/us/27f.asp. Northup, Solomon. (1853). Twelve Years a slave: Narrative of Solomon Northrup, a Citizen of New York,
Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. The UltraThin Edition. 2011. Wheaton: Crossway: Good News
Publishers, 2001.
Twell, Jeremy, J. 2011. “A Difference of Complexion: George Fitzhugh and the Birth of the Republican
Party”. The Historian 237-239.
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