Historiography Essay on Slavery

1672 WordsMar 13, 20137 Pages
Historiography Essay on Slavery Frederick Douglass was born a slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As a boy, Douglass learned to read and write while working as a house servant in Baltimore. In 1838, he made his way to freedom and went to New York City, where he soon married a free black woman named Anna Murray. After escaping from slavery, Frederick Douglass became a leader of the abolitionist movement, garnering praise for his incredible skills as an orator. His great speaking skills led him to write several autobiographies, his first one being Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. After returning from a successful speaking tour in Europe, Douglass worked on his antislavery newspaper, The North Star. During the Civil War,…show more content…
Happy slaves did not have much of a reason to rebel for independence, so Phillips argued that most slave resistances were not so much a cry for freedom, but a form of labor negotiation between the slave and the slave owner. According to Phillips, “acquiescence was easier than correction,” (Phillips, 306). If slaves complained that their tasks were “too heavy,” then the easiest solution was to “reduce the schedule” (Phillips, 306). Phillips’s implication suggest slaves to be naturally docile and willing to work under most conditions, where in actuality most slaves lived unhappily and slave owners did not care about the slave’s working conditions. Douglass’s fight against Mr. Covey supports Stampp’s argument in “A Troublesome Property,” that slaves were treated harshly and any act of opposition from slaves was a sign of rebellion and the desire for freedom. Stampp’s depiction of the tension between a slave and a slave owner matches Douglass’s description of Mr. Covey and himself. Stampp agrees with a white man who says that the desire for freedom “exists in the bosom of every slave” (Stampp, 260). Stampp says that rebellion, no matter how subtle, is not lesser than the daring “thrusts of liberty” (Stampp, 261). Constant resistance to their master’s authority makes them “troublesome property” (Stampp, 261) in the eyes of their owners. According to Stampp, attempts to overwork or punish a slave by a

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