How Douglass Dispelled the Illusions of Slavery Essay

How Douglass Dispelled the Illusions of Slavery Essay

Length: 1013 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography to provide a look into the world of a slave. His audience varied, from abolitionists, to whites that were on the fence about the issue, but his purpose remained: to allow non-slaves to learn about the horrors of slavery. In this autobiography, Douglass dispelled readers’ “illusions about slavery” by merely telling his true story, an everyman tale for slaves. Douglass worked on plantations in the Maryland area, and those plantations were considered to be easier than those of Georgia or Alabama, as unruly or ornery slaves were “sold to a Georgia [slave] trader” as punishment (54). Douglass may very well have been one of the better-treated slaves of his era, and in revealing the horrors of his relatively good circumstances, he underscores the overall mistreatment of slaves. Douglass destroyed the illusions of racially driven mental and physical inferiority, Biblical justification of slavery, and slave happiness that slavery supporters so often put forth by providing contradictory examples from his own life.
One of the illusions that Douglass sought to destroy was the natural mental inferiority of his race. This component of the pro-slavery argument was brought up numerous times, for example in George McDuffie’s “The Natural Slavery of the Negro.” In this work, McDuffie argued that slavery was not only merited, but necessary, as people of African heritage were “utterly unqualified” for “rational freedom” because of their “intellectual inferiority” and their need for a “condition of servile dependence” (The Natural Slavery of the Negro, McDuffie, P2). Douglass combated this argument with anecdotes of how he “finally succeeded in learning to read” without a formal education (67). His anecdotes...

... middle of paper ...

...aveholders used the existence of slavery in the Bible as a defense for their actions, instead of adhering to Christian values and renouncing the warped morals of slavery.
Slaveholders used corrupt morals and inherently false logic to defend slavery, but Douglass, by sharing the story of his life and of others’, dispelled the illusions of slavery. Douglass’ life provided the evidence necessary to counter the slaveholders’ arguments: racial inferiority, both physical and mental, slave happiness, and Biblical justification for slavery. By publishing this autobiography, Douglass furthered the opposition of slavery, as whites that had never experienced slavery could finally sympathize with members of the anti-slavery movement. In this book Douglass revealed the flaws in the pro-slavery argument, and cemented himself as one of the most important abolitionists of his era.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Frederick Douglass And The Slavery Of Slavery Essay examples

- Being born into slavery in the early nineteenth century, Fredrick Douglass experienced many hardships; from physical torture to mental torture. “By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant.” It was not only the physical damage in which the southerner slave owners inflicted pain onto the slaves, but the mere fact that the slaves weren’t able to know their own birthday....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Torture]

Better Essays
790 words (2.3 pages)

Essay about Frederick Douglass : Evolution Of Slavery

- Frederick Douglass: Evolution From 1800-1861 Frederick Douglass said, “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave”. Frederick Douglass could not be farther from the truth. Frederick Douglass was a slave, and he saw knowledge as a passage to freedom. Slavery was the primary cause of many events from 1800-1861. The issue was not slavery itself necessarily, but the different views and controversy towards it. Slavery was dehumanization; making black people less human. Black people were treated unjustifiably wrong since they were treated like property during this time period....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Abolitionism]

Better Essays
1661 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on The Fight Against Slavery By Frederick Douglass

- The fight against slavery was not one without struggles and one that was easily won. American abolitionists used various political tools available to them to combat the issues associated with. From religion to the Constitution and Declaration of Independence those fighting against slavery, fought hard to show the injustices and immorality of slavery. This essay will take a look at various writings from abolitionists to determine their way of thinking and the tactics they used to oppose and fight to end slavery....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]

Better Essays
1542 words (4.4 pages)

Frederick Douglass 's Narrative Of Slavery Essay example

- Frederick Douglass was an American slave in the south during the time of the abolitionist movement. During his time in slavery he learned his ABC’s from a benevolent slave owner and from there teaches himself how to read. Using this knowledge he is able to learn about the abolitionist movement in the north and eventually plans his escape from his captivity in Baltimore. Many years after his escape he is able to write and publish the narrative of his life with the purpose of showing abolitionist and those on the fence about slavery in the North that the institution is not all it is portrayed to be....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]

Better Essays
1356 words (3.9 pages)

Frederick Douglass 's Narrative Of Slavery Essay

- During the time of slavery, slaves were put to work on plantation, fields, and farms. They were considered property to their slave-owners and put under unfair living conditions. Growing up in this era, we can see the injustice between white and colored people. And one slave by the name of Fredrick Douglass witnessed this unjust tension. And because of this tension, dehumanizing practices became prominent among the slaves and in slave society. The most prominent of these injustices is the desire of slave owners to keep their slaves ignorant....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Better Essays
1717 words (4.9 pages)

Slavery, By Frederick Douglass Essay

- Slavery. This single idea has destroyed millions of lives around the world. Many have tried to eradicate slavery, but most have been unsuccessful. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. He wanted to support the cause of ending slavery, so he escaped slavery himself. After attending many conventions to spread the word of abolitionism, Douglass, with his eloquence, eventually became one of the most influential black men in the country. His popularity helped abolitionists by pushing President Abraham Lincoln to outlaw slavery through the Emancipation Proclamation....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Abraham Lincoln]

Better Essays
1200 words (3.4 pages)

Frederick Douglass 's View Of Slavery Essay

- Frederick Douglass has a strong view that he comes clear as he grows up from a child to his adult hood. He will get to see firsthand the underlying hypocritical acts of “Slavery” idealizes to hide. With not only discovering or recognizing the truth of slavery he will see the effect that it had bestowed on both slave owner and slave themselves. White people put the view of Slaves in the category of a property, to help their conscience not view the institution of slavery as dehumanizing. As mentions many times throughout the book he is a piece of property and that’s all he is viewed as....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Better Essays
812 words (2.3 pages)

Fredrick Douglass 's Drawing Upon Frederick Douglass Essay

- Drawing upon Fredrick Douglass experience Fredrick Douglass overcame such harsh obstacles with true grit and strife. H became educated against all the hardships in his life. As a slave, Fredrick Douglass was not supposed to learn due to the fact that he wasn’t seen as a human. His perseverance gave him the strength to continue learning, to truly see how people should be treated. Even from learning Fredrick Douglass still had the perception that he was a slave for life due to the oppression from the slave owners....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Frederick Douglass]

Better Essays
1079 words (3.1 pages)

Slavery and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass Essay

- Slavery and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass In 1845, Frederick Douglass told his compelling story of life as slave and as a free man. Through the words of somebody who endured slavery, we can only get a taste of what it was like, for we will never truly know the feeling of the severe physical punishment and the cruelty the slaves endured. Whippings, beatings and lynchings were all too common during the era of slavery. However, not only were their bodies treated so harshly, but their minds and souls were as well....   [tags: The Narrative of Frederick Douglass]

Better Essays
582 words (1.7 pages)

Essay about Frederick Douglass and Slavery

- Frederick Douglass and Slavery Frederick Douglass the most successful abolitionist who changed America’s views of slavery through his writings and actions. Frederick Douglass had many achievements throughout his life. His Life as a slave had a great impact on his writings. His great oratory skills left the largest impact on Civil War time period literature. All in all he was the best black speaker and writer ever. Douglass was born a slave in 1817, in Maryland. He educated himself and became determined to escape the horror of slavery....   [tags: Slavery Essays]

Better Essays
1436 words (4.1 pages)