Comparasion of Frederick Douglass's 4th of July Speech & Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise Speech

1210 WordsNov 9, 20115 Pages
Rhetorical Equality Successful, self-educated abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington fought tirelessly to eradicate slavery. Born into slavery, Douglass and Washington shared the belief of equality, but differed on the manner in which it would be achieved. Douglass’s philosophy was “agitate!, agitate!, agitate!” whereas, Washington was of the ‘work!, work!, work!” mindset. Through his crafty use of rhetoric, Douglass delivered a scathing attack on the hypocrisy of America in his self-referential speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.” The speech articulated his passionate pursuit for liberty and equal rights. Douglass’s speech passionately argued that in the eyes of the slave and even the “free” black…show more content…
“For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold…that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men…we are called upon to prove that we are men!” (Douglass) During his speech, Douglass elaborated on the different aspects of why blacks have a natural right to freedom as any other human being He argued it is wrong to turn a man into a “brute” and proceeded to argue that slavery is not divine in its origin. Douglass’s speech was a calling for equality, for change. He accomplished his goal and proved the fourth of July was a revolting reminder to him and those like him of the continual inhumane cruelty American attempted to conceal through its mockery. In contrast to Douglass, Washington’s famous speech known as the “1865 Atlantic Compromise” was not a protest or challenge of the political system, nor did he speak about the lack of social equality. Instead he focused his efforts on what blacks could accomplish, how they could compromise. He believed the militant rhetoric of Douglass and others distracted blacks from the path of liberty, equality, and economic success. Washington’s speech emphasized that it was the dual responsibility of blacks and whites to make the blacks a more

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