Rhetorical Analysis Of Frederick Douglass 's Speech Essay

Rhetorical Analysis Of Frederick Douglass 's Speech Essay

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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 of the black man. White society thought of the black population as subhuman, inferior, uneducated, and not their equals. Douglass fought to dispel these notions, mainly by displaying ample knowledge and an impressive oratory. This speech gave his audience sufficient evidence as to his knowledge about of history, literature, religion, law, music, rhetoric, and economics. Not only he tries to convince the white population of the wrongfulness of slavery, but also he aims to make of abolition the only solution to this social issue.
In his aims to win his audience, Douglass uses various rhetorical strategies to support his position. 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 ...


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...at while there are many contemporaries, who are balanced and reasonable citizens, they may resort to other options if their voice is not heard. Here he compares the founding fathers with the abolitionists, comparing both, and ascribing qualities to one in order to support the other. By doing so, he wants to dismiss the notion that abolitionists were unbalanced or maniac individuals, who wanted to destroy the peace of the American society. Albeit Douglass never mentions the fact that many of the founding fathers owned slaves, his silence takes place so there are not counterarguments to his portrayal of them as men who supported justice and freedom. Notwithstanding their personal stance on slavery, Douglass is able to bring the founding fathers to his side of the argument by reiterating how they were able to found a nation build on the same ideals he lobbies for.

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