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The Slaveowner´s Point of View in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass depicts his life as a plantation slave, offering misinformed northern Christians and reformers in-depth accounts of the physical and emotional cruelties of slavery. As Douglass recounts his relationship and interactions with the harsh Mr. Covey, he disputes the basis on which southern slaveowners defended slavery. Douglass dispels their claims of encompassing a Christian duty to civilize blacks who they deemed naturally inferior by proving how they actively worked to keep slaves from assimilating and contributing to society.
Southern slaveowners claimed that they were upholding their Christian duty by engaging in slavery, rescuing slaves from a life of struggle and faithlessness. Douglass dispels this myth by exposing the many flaws of Mr. Covey’s morality, shocking northern Christians with his Christian hypocrisy and faulty character. Douglass introduces Mr. Covey as a “nigger-breaker,” denouncing his ability for human emotion and sympathy(79). Douglass evokes a sense of ethics and judgement in his Northern audience as he questions the authenticity of Mr. Covey’s faith: “I do verily believe that he sometimes deceived himself into the solemn belief that he was a sincere worshipper of the most high God” (82). In pointing out Mr. Covey’s self-deception, Douglass indicates a distinction between true Christianity and false Christianity. Douglass implies that Mr. Covey wasn’t a “sincere worshipper,” proving how slaveowners’ Christianity was not proof of their genuine goodness, but only a hypocritical front they maintained to bolster their complacent brutality. In doing so, Douglass counters the argument of blacks receiving a healthy faith from being enslaved. He a...

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...act, whether that be out of sympathy, nationalism, or selfishness. Amongst so many abolitionists and adamant southern voices fighting to be heard in disunited America, Frederick Douglass was such an influential person in the antislavery movement because of his rhetoric. He uses captivating modes of persuasion, strategically addressing specific audiences with different arguments. Douglass makes the dehumanizing effects of slavery on slaves obvious, appealing to feelings of sympathy in the North; however, he also appeals to the agitators of slavery — slaveowners in the South — by stressing how the corrupt and irresponsible power they enjoy are detrimental to their own moral health. By showing the immorality of slaveowners and their families as a result of perpetuating slavery, Douglass contends that slavery should be abolished for the greater good of the whole society.
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