n Frederick Douglass’ What to the Slave is the 4th of July, he presents a simple yet morally complex argument. In his letter, Douglass states that it is hypocritical for a country to celebrate its freedom and separation from another country, yet still have slavery alive and well in the United States. Morally, this issue is a pretty straightforward argument and the very definition of hypocritical. Douglass also touches upon his belief that all men and women are equal, as stated in the constitution, yet slaves are subhuman. Another topic touched on is the contributing factors that perpetuate the constant and unjust nature of how slaves are treated, such as religion, agricultural, and over all demeanor towards slaves. Frederick Douglass was an …show more content…
His main argument in the speech is that it 's unjust and hypocritical for a country to celebrate its freedom while it still has slaves. Now that in itself is a morally viable argument, and it has never been more relevant than today in our racially hate fueled world where every situation is turned into a hate crime. However, back in those days majority of slaves were sold into slavery by their own people. Most slaves were sold by rival tribes as prisoners of war, or trouble makers of the tribe, thus giving us the “bottom of the barrel” of the groups. Another counter to Douglass was that even though slaves were people, they were still considered property. A hard working farmer could have used his last penny in order to purchase that slave because he was unable to tend his farm and provide for his family. One common misconception was that all slaves were beaten and treated lower than swine, while to the contrary some were treated well being given a bed and meals every day in exchange for their hard work. While Douglass may have had a bad time under the ownership of Auld, most northern states did not treat their slaves in this manner. This is one of the main reasons Douglass learned how to read, yet no credit is given to his former owner. Most slaves developed a relationship with their owners, in which their owners taught them useful skills such as reading, writing, simple math and farming skills. Another argument brought into Douglass’ speech was that most churches were segregated, and in turn perpetuated the racism that helped keep slavery alive in well. He proposed that a God that wouldn’t allow such evil and disservice in this world would contradict everything the bible proposes and teaches. He praises the writers of the constitution, considering them his equal and thanking the signers of the Declaration of Independence, calling
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He stood up to abolish slavery by telling the president and others the story of how America earned her freedom. He mentions how the Americans were, “ treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back”(Douglass). The Americans wanted change just like the African Americans wanted fairness as well. Without this rebellion, the slaves could not get to be emancipated and stop being treated like animals. Civil societies for the white man versus the black man were opposites, which was surprising since the religious values of the common white man was Christianity. They did not follow the law of the Lord; do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Being a slave meant doing whatever, whenever the master said so or else “whipping the devil out of them” (Cartwright) was put into effect. From a proponent’s perspective, if the slave owner “treated [them] kindly, well fed and clothed, with little fuel”(Cartwright) then they were good slave owners and they would not try to run away. Overall, this notion developed into now what we call being racial prejudice.
1.) Fredrick Douglass’s purpose in this speech was to explain the wrongfulness of slavery in America. Fredrick Douglass states in his speech “Are the great principles of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” and “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me.” These prove that the freedom and independence Americans have aren’t shared with the Africans when it should be that Africans have those rights as well. Frederick Douglass then talked about how badly whites treat blacks and how wrong it is. “There are 72 crimes in Virginia which, if committed by a black man, subject him to a punishment of death, while
A human being is a complicated entity of a contradictory nature where creative and destructive, virtuous and vicious are interwoven. Each of us has gone through various kinds of struggle at least once in a lifetime ranging from everyday discrepancies to worldwide catastrophes. There are always different causes and reasons that trigger these struggles, however, there is common ground for them as well: people are different, even though it is a truism no one seems to able to realize this statement from beyond the bounds of one’s self and reach out to approach the Other.
In a preface of Douglass' autobiography, William Lloyd Garrison writes, "I am confident that it is essentially true in all its statements; that nothing has been set down in malice, nothing exaggerated, nothing drawn from the imagination; that it comes short of the reality, rather than overstates a single fact in regard to SLAVERY AS IT IS."(Garrison, 34). The significance of this statement validates and promises that Douglass' words are nothing but the truth. This made the narrative more marketable to the white audience and people were listening. Douglass realized that he did not need assurance from white people to be respected. That's why he addressed his master for all the wrong things done to him. Slaves are looked as not human. Douglass completes his journey from slave to man when he creates his own identity. He speaks out, fighting as an abolitionist and finally becoming an author. Douglass tells his story not simply as a search for fr...
Douglass tries to appeal to both those who are religious and those who are patriotic. He mentions that the system of slavery goes against both the Bible and Constitution – and as god-fearing people and those that respect the Constitution should reject this
In his speech he tries to make white people consider the behavior of black people. Specially their feelings towards a national occasion such as Independence Day. At the time of Douglass’s speech America were actually two different nations, white and black. Two separated nations one had great benefits after the independence and another still fight for basic human rights. What does the independence means for people who still suffer after it? This question is the most important. In the Declaration of Independence. He is implying that these rights are not being extended to African Americans. When this country was created it was meant to be a plac...
In his speech, Frederick Douglass made it clear that he believed that the continued toleration and support of slavery from both a religious and legal standpoint was utterly absurd when considering the ideals and principles advocated by America’s forefathers. He began by praising the American framers of the Constitution, an...
Slavery had been established in American history from the time of European settlement in the colonies (1619) until the Thirteenth Amendment officially ended the practice. During that time, a slave was bound to endure hard labor and often led a life in constant fear of his master. Frederick Douglass, in his autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, rises against the injustices done to his people by presenting insight into the power imbalance between slaves and their holders. Douglass asserts throughout his account that the “poison of irresponsible power” the masters maintain has a detrimental and dehumanizing effect on their moral behavior (39). Douglass addresses the barbarity that overcomes the slaveholder in a testimony against slavery and discusses the negative results through deep characterization, emotional scenes, and plausible evidence.
In Fredrick Douglass’s speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” Douglass proves the necessity of resistance by relating
I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim” (Faigley 355). When he asked rhetorical questions he directly followed them with an answer. Douglass knew what he was trying to get across and used rhetorical questions to be informative rather than to gather information. In using this technique, he implied that he did not need to argue his points because only a fool would argue points that were so morally unambiguous. Here Douglass was speaking with the strength of his convictions. He led with the question of whether slaves should have been considered men. He supported this statement by saying that the south had created many laws for slaves, that would have not been necessary if the slaves had been animals. He continued by suggesting that everyone knew in their hearts that slavery was wrong. Finally, Douglass stated that arguing over whether violence was wrong was a waste of his time, saying “I have better employments for my time and strength, than such arguments would imply” (qtd. Faigley
Douglass’ speech, while riddled with rhetoric and effluent irony, generates a remarkably effective montage demonstrating the ills of a severely oppressed race. Amongst the plethora of goading ridicule, Douglass’ appears to concentrate on the bitter irony concerning America’s independence and their decision to uphold slavery, as well as the extreme prejudice and mistreatment of slaves, and the hypocrisy of a nation that allegedly values Christianity and the freedoms conveyed in the Declaration of Independence.
Throughout the entirety of the book, Douglass presents himself as a neutral figure who can see both the negative and positive side of any issue, even slavery. He presents a rational account of why slavery exists and does so without attempting to discuss the morality of the topic at hand. Despite spending a lot of time discussing the cruel masters and supervisors he encountered in life , his anger is not towards those who support slavery, but the institution of slavery as a whole.“Nature has done almost nothing to prepare men and woman to be ei...
Frederick Douglass’s speech was given to so many of his own people. The fact that Douglass speaks so harshly to them proves that he has passion for what he talks about through-out. “What to the slave is the Fourth of July”, compares and contrasts the different meanings the Fourth of July shared between Whites and African Americans. Douglass says “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim”. Frederick Douglass was not striving for the attention, he just wanted to get across that the Fourth of July is not a day of celebration to African Americans and the respect he shared with them, having once being a slave himself.
Frederick Douglass uses the immediate and larger context to show his view towards slavery in America. Douglas delivered this speech at a meeting for the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, but Douglass intended his speech to immediately touch the heart of the American people and get them thinking. He was aiming to have his speech get around locally, but also heard by all Americans . He was condemning America as a nation for allowing slavery. By condemning the citizens, he was hoping that his speech would impress upon