History Essay 2

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Rachel Maloney December 10, 2014 U.S. History Writing Assignment #2 The two historical documents, Narrative of Lavinia Bell written by an anonymous author in the Montreal Gazette and the Letter to an English Abolitionist by James Henry Hammond, shared their strong opinions on the important issue of slavery. These documents were written in the 1800’s during an era of progressive changes. One can identify similarities and many differences in their opinions, motives, and goals for their writings. I believe Bell’s account was written to show the perspective of slaves’ brutal view, compared to Hammond’s letter justifying slavery and the rights of the slaveholders. Lavinia Bell’s document was written in 1861 and Hammond’s in 1845. Both…show more content…
This world was made for man, and man for the world as it is.”(Doc. 2) Both authors use different methods to sway their audience to their position on slavery. Bell’s document provided an emotional appeal with a horrific story. The account’s of Bell’s punishments are described in gruesome detail and wouldn’t always mention what Bell did to receive the abuse from her master, but mainly focused on what the actual punishments were. Therefore a method succeeding in making the white master seem evil and a murderer with no remorse and the slave as an innocent victim. The author also transmits the abolitionist message by using specific words such as “brute” and “brutal” to describe Bell’s master William Whirl and words such as “poor negro” when referring to the slaves. To add to the emotional appeal, the author implies that the slave had integrity and was loyal to her mistress Polly Whirl when she refused to tell on her for informing her of the safe haven in Canada and how to find it. As a consequence, Bell is severely tortured and almost beaten to death, yet never betrays Mrs. Whirl. Lastly, the author’s choice of words towards the end of the document evokes a sense of guilt by including the word “we” in the conclusion. “Need we commend this poor woman to the citizens of Montreal for their practical aid, after the history we have given her?”(Doc. 1) By using the word “woman”, this document is also portraying the slave as a
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