In the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave, written by himself, the author argues that slaves are treated no better than, sometimes worse, than livestock. Douglass supports his claim by demonstrating how the slaves were forced to eat out of a trough like pigs and second, shows how hard they were working, like animals. The author’s purpose is to show the lifestyle of an American slave in order to appeal to people’s emotions to show people, from a slave’s perspective, what slavery is really like. Based on the harsh descriptions of his life, Douglass is writing to abolitionist and other people that would sympathize and abolish slavery.
The brutality that slaves endured form their masters and from the institution of slavery caused slaves to be denied their god given rights. In the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," Douglass has the ability to show the psychological battle between the white slave holders and their black slaves, which is shown by Douglass' own intellectual struggles against his white slave holders. I will focus my attention on how education allowed Douglass to understand how slavery was wrong, and how the Americans saw the blacks as not equal, and only suitable for slave work. I will also contrast how Douglass' view was very similar to that of the women in antebellum America, and the role that Christianity played in his life as a slave and then
Greed is the undertone upon which Douglass states that slavery “corrupted souls” and “turned good people into bad people.” The institution of slavery was based on the ultimate control and power over a human to whom he is stripped of all of his identity and becomes sub-human. Consequently, the institution forces slave holders had to buy into this concept in order to justify any and all cruelty toward slaves. Douglas states “Slave holders resort to all kinds of cruelty” and later describes various ways of torture and punishment “all are in requisition to keep the slave in his condition as a slave in the United States” (Douglass 272). Slave holders showed no mercy when reprimanding slaves. The brutality and cruelty of these punishments were more of a statement of power and control and often times the punishment was worse than the offense.
Today, slavery is not something you see in modern day society. For the most part, people are treated fairly while working, are given benefits such as holidays and the option to take a sick day when feeling ill, and are paid a good wage for their services as an employee. But unfortunately this was not the case back in the 1800s where slavery was popular among the southern parts of the United States.
Slave as defined by the dictionary means that a slave is a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant. So why is it that every time you go and visit a historical place like the Hampton-Preston mansion in Columbia South Carolina, the Lowell Factory where the mill girls work in Massachusetts or the Old town of Williamsburg Virginia they only talk about the good things that happened at these place, like such things as who owned them, who worked them, how they were financed and what life was like for the owners. They never talk about the background information of the lower level people like the slaves or servants who helped take care and run these places behind the scenes.
Slavery was a system of forced labor popular in the 17th and 18th century that exploited and oppressed blacks. Slavery was an issue in the US that brought on many complex responses. Slave labor introduced to the United States a multitude of issues that questioned political, economical, and social morals. As slave labor increased due to the booming of cottage industries with the market revolution, reactions to these issues differed between regions, creating a sectional split of the United States between industrial North and plantation South. Historiographers Kenneth Stampp, Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman, and Eugene Genovese, in their respective articles, attempt to interpret the attitudes of American slaves toward their experiences of work as well as the social and economic implications of slave labor.
Starting from a slave’s birth, this cruel process leads to a continuous cycle of abuse, neglect, and inhumane treatment. To some extent, slave holders succeed because they keep most slaves so concerned with survival that they have no time or energy to consider freedom. This is particularly true for plantation slaves where the conditions of slave life are the most difficult and challenging. However, slave holders fail to realize the damage they inadvertently inflict on themselves by upholding slavery and enforcing these austere laws and attitudes.
Slavery has a lot of effects on African Americans today. History of slavery is marked for civil rights. Indeed, slavery began with civilization. With farming’s development, war could be taken as slavery. Slavery that lives in Western go back 10,000 years to Mesopotamia. Today, most of them move to Iraq, where a male slave had to focus on cultivation. Female slaves were as sexual services for white people also their masters at that time, having freedom only when their masters died.
Slaves’ future lives all depended on who would “win” them and buy them. For Douglass, it was unbearable to observe human beings cry in desperation and pain. Frederick’s mistress was the only person, besides himself, that was able to experience pure dismay; causing them to ache together and understand the terror.
Frederick Douglass was born in Maryland in 1818 as a slave to a maritime captain, Captain Anthony. After decades of enslavement, Frederick Douglass escaped to the North and became one of the prominent members and drivers of the abolitionist movement. In an effort to provide an eye-opening account of the harsh treatment of slaves, Douglass wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass detailed his life beginning from his meager early years through his escape to the North. In writing his autobiography, Douglass utilized a variety of techniques including the use of the three rhetorical strategies: Ethos, Pathos and Logos to create a powerful and influential argument against the institution of
This was the period of post-slavery, early twentieth century, in southern United States where blacks were still treated by whites inhumanly and cruelly, even after the abolition laws of slavery of 1863. They were still named as ‘color’. Nothing much changed in African-American’s lives, though the laws of abolition of slavery were made, because now the slavery system became a way of life. The system was accepted as destiny. So the whites also got license to take disadvantages and started exploiting them sexually, racially, physically, and economically. During slavery, they were sold in the slave markets to different owners of plantation and were bound to be separated from each other. Thus they lost their nation, their dignity, and were dehumanized and exploited by whites.
In American history, every event and person plays a part in the future. For example, rich plantation owners helped America advance their economy. However, that would not have been at all possible without the help of their slaves. The time and institution of slavery is a time of historical remembrance. It played a primary role during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The treatment, labor conditions, and personal stories of these slaves’ treatment and labor conditions are all widely discussed around the world to this day.
Slavery, especially in America, has been an age old topic of riveting discussions. Specialist and other researchers have been digging around for countless years looking for answers to the many questions that such an activity provided. They have looked into the economics of slavery, slave demography, slave culture, slave treatment, and slave-owner ideology (p. ix). Despite slavery being a global issue, the main focus is always on American slavery. Peter Kolchin effectively illustrates in his book, American Slavery how slavery evolved alongside of historical controversy, the slave-owner relationship, how slavery changed over time, and how America compared to other slave nations around the world.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave details the progression of a slave to a man, and thus, the formation of his identity. The narrative functions as a persuasive essay, written in the hopes that it would successfully lead to “hastening the glad day of deliverance to the millions of [his] brethren in bonds” (Douglass 331). As an institution, slavery endeavored to reduce the men, women, and children “in bonds” to a state less than human. The slave identity, according to the institution of slavery, was not to be that of a rational, self forming, equal human being, but rather, a human animal whose purpose is to work and obey the whims of their “master.” For these reasons, Douglass articulates a distinction
Patrick Henry once said, “give me liberty, or give me death.” In the eyes of Frederick Douglass and countless others enslaved, this took on a much deeper meaning to them. “It was doubtful liberty at most, and almost certain death is we failed.”  Frederick Douglass was one of the most commonly known slaves to have existed. Slavery has been around since the 1700s, but the subject of slavery is controversial because it not only includes information written from former slaves, but information acquired from historians. The question that has with stood the test of time is, “are these encounters that have been written out, exaggerated or the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” In the early 1800’s Frederick Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland, and grew up on Colonial Edward Lloyd’s plantation. Children would be separated from their mothers before they were twelve months in age-Frederick too was separated from his mother. As a result of entering slave-hood at an early age, he did not know his birthdate (like most slaves). Frederick Douglass’s account on slavery could be seen as biased as a result of first hand experiences with being held as a slave. Although, Douglass is able to be direct our thoughts to these experiences in such a light, you feel as if you are witnessing it happen right before you. Because of Douglass’s quest for freedom, his daring attitude, and determination to learn, he shows us the way through American Slavery in his eyes. Douglass provides