Fredrick Douglass also came to exude a great sense of racial pride as his life progressed. At first, his only perception of his people was that of a lowly slave nation. Yet, he was dedicated to trying to improve their lot. After his fellow slaves learned that he was literate, they “insisted that I must keep a Sabbath school.” He agreed to this proposal because he felt that the only shot his “brothers” had at gaining their freedom was through the power of the written word. Later, when he and his fellow slaves were jailed after their plans to escape to freedom were revealed, he states that “our greatest concern was about separation.” Douglass felt a sense of responsibility and kinship towards the members of his own race, and was loath to break these bonds. His racial pride reached its peak when he saw the houses that the free blacks in the North lived in. Douglass proudly writes that “I found many, who had not been seven years out of their chains, living in finer houses, and evidently enjoying more of the comforts of life, than the average of slaveholders in Maryland.” When Douglass saw how well some of his kinsmen were living, he could not help but change his impression of his people being a downtrodden slave nation. He came to recognize his race for what they truly were: a people equal in stature to any other, even the lofty Caucasians.
Douglass also in his speeches liberated what Americans in this economy would have done with blacks. In his speech “what the blacks want” he states, “I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief.” (Douglass). Society’s “America” has already put us in a category. Race we are not superior or equal to no other. Economically we don’t have the means to live out what we strive for. Education wise we have none, we are not sufficient enough to read or write for us to have a better life. Douglass in this speech stresses to leave us alone we are cable of doing bad or good on our own. His would view principle of self-ownership, which he understood to include both the racial and equality.
Frederick Douglass establishes his own ethos in the opening lines of the speech. He does so by questioning his oratorical authority to speak on freedom with the following rhetoric: “ Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? Frederick Douglass is not saying that he is a nobody, but out of everybody why would he, the former slave and abolitionist, be chosen to to speak on the celebration of freedom. But of course, Frederick Douglas resume suggests that he is educated, experienced and qualified enough to speak on freedom. He was born a slave in Maryland and experienced the horror of slavery first hand. He escaped from slavery and
According to Douglass, “They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to” (Douglass, 150). Douglass saw similarities between the struggles of the forefathers and black slaves, and he compelled his audience to recognize these similarities and follow the example of the forefathers.
The issue Douglass show is, America now has the freedom but why is freedom not granted to the selected few. “The Declaration of Independence is a ringbolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so indeed, I regard it”(Douglass pg2). Douglass explains that the way America has been granted independence is not the right way to go about it. Being a slave during the time Douglass see’s that independence was given to all Americans, except for the black race. Given the right to speak Douglass believes, why would the American people give him the right to say his opinion if a slave’s word doesn’t change anything. To an American the black race is owned property. Containing the slaves and indentured servants(black race) as property they are given no freedom. “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” (Douglass pg4). Douglass reveals that man is to him the same as the British against the American’s. A black or any other race deserves the same treatment as anyone
He tells them that slavery is in contradiction of what the founding fathers valued and believed in, as well as what they fought for. Frederick says the founding fathers believed in freedom and equality. The same things they fought to get away from, are the same things white Americans were doing to African Americans in that present time. He says in his speech, “Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit earnestly sought redress,” (404). This quote is an example of how the founding fathers were feeling under England’s government, and how Frederick Douglass was relating it to how blacks were getting treated and how they felt throughout the United States in that present time. He wanted white Americans to recognize how they were portraying their nation. Another way he gets his audience to recognize what they were doing was wrong was by using their emotions to trigger shame and disappointment within themselves. Mr. Douglass shames them by comparing them to their founding fathers, who they look up to and celebrated. He says in the speech, “You live and must die, and you must do your own work…You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence,” (407), to shame his audience on not carrying on the principles and morals that the founding fathers worked so hard to gain. Another example of him guilting his audience is when he
Frederick Douglass’ speech was a like a parent disciplining their children. Douglass tries to open the eyes of the American people the lies that they’ve been telling themselves. He also tells the people at this party that there is still hope but will take a group effort to get to this actual independence for all.
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a fantastic speech to a group of abolitionists in the city of Rochester, New York. He briefly summarized and praised the history of the United States, but then extremely eloquently spoke about the current situation that African slaves inhabited. Before I started reading the speech for myself, I saw the length and was a bit put off. However, when I started reading the speech, I found Douglass’ style to be incredibly impressive, and I enjoyed reading the whole speech. I took notice quite early in the speech, of almost a foreshadowing of where his speech was going to take a turn to. Douglass was clever to make a distinction between those of slaves and non-slaves by using “yours.” Although he recognizes the greatness of the country and its origins, he soon points out that the African slaves cannot celebrate such histories. For instance, he states that the fourth of July is, “a day that reveals to him (the
When giving this speech Frederick Douglass gives a big purpose on why he is giving this speech in the first place. The purpose of Frederick Douglass giving this speech is that he wants everybody to be free from all the nonsense and to end people from being taken away from their families. “I am myself; you are yourself; we are two distinct persons equal persons. What you are, I am. You are a man, and so am I. God created both, and made us separate beings. We are distinct persons, and are each equally provided with faculties necessary to our individual existence.” (Ramsey, William) (Frederick Douglass, Southerner). This point talks about how Frederick Douglass feels like everybody is made by the same type of person and how everybody is born the same type of person. Frederick Douglass goes on to feel that we are given equal types of responsibilities to fulfill our life as a
“A person held in servitude as the chattel of another” (Slave, n.d.). This is the definition of a “slave”. The most well-known cases of slavery occurred during the settlement of America, for well over 300 years, slavery was allowed and for the most part considered the “norm” within our country. There were many eradicators who made an attempt to end slavery, as we know at some point; they were successful at doing so. One very influential person was, Fredrick Douglas, he along with many others, were extraordinary influences in the anti-slavery movement. Douglas was known for being a social reformer, author, journalist, women’s and human rights activist, a publisher and an abolitionist all in one. He helped to shape and strengthen our nation and try to make it one with equality as possible. Dedicating his life to fighting for justice for all Americans, specifically African-Americans and minority groups. Frederick Douglass rose from slavery, this fact itself inspired him to do so much more than just write about what it was to be a slave. He turn into one of the leading African-American voices. Douglass would eventually become the best-known abolitionist in the country and the most famous black American of his time. As an alternative to only arguing against slavery, Douglass took a different approach, he asked some hard questions about what freedom really is. The speech by Fredrick Douglas, entitled “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” represents just that. It express his discontent for the way the slaves were been treated while using sarcasm to prove his point that the slaves are entitles to their freedom, liberty and all American democracy.
“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.
On July 5th 1852, Frederick Douglass, one of history’s outstanding public speakers, carried out a very compelling speech at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. Within that moment of time where the freedom of Americans was being praised and celebrated, he gathered the nation to clear up the tension among slavery and the establishment of the country’s goals. Frederick Douglass’s speech mentions the development of the young nation, the Revolution, and his own life experience. While speaking, his main subject was seen to be American slavery. The “Fourth of July Oration” was a commendable model of Frederick Douglass’s affection and engagement towards the freedom of individuals. Frederick Douglass’s speech left an impact on his audience
The fact that Douglass was so outspoken and courageous inspires me to do the same. Even though the time periods of which we live in are different, African Americans still face many trials and tribulations. With this said, I agree that America needed to make a change back then, and needs to make another change in the here and now. Later on his speech he makes note to the Declaration of independence and its signees. While he puts them on the "hot seat", he praises them for their revolutionary thinking, but challenges Americans to continue this way of enlightenment. This speaks to me on a very personal level, because of the way I wish to live my life. I wish to live my life I a way that will change the course of America forever, even if it is a micro change and not a macro change. Furthermore Douglass addresses the issue of tyranny and how the whites are forcing the blacks to celebrate
He argued about the unequal injustice of blacks versus the white men “72 crimes subject blacks to death and only 2 of them subject whites to same punishment”. For Frederick Douglass, Independence Day was a “sham” a “boasted liberty an unholy license”. How can so many celebrate freedom and Independence when so many were still slaves in bondage, so many inequalities in race, and so many crimes against humanity in the black community?