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Essay on Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Complete Title: An Exploration of the Relationship between Southern Christianity and Slaveholding as seen in the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Written by Himself” Dr. Pautreaux’s comments: What makes this paper memorable is the fact that this student is also a minister. Both his command of the language and his insight as a minister gave this paper a unique view of the narrative. We can so easily deceive ourselves into believing that what is accepted by the general population as normal behavior is also justifiably correct. Rarely do we, as a society, question our customs as long as this behavior yields such commodities as convenience, profit
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He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of the sacred influence..." (1077). Douglass also portrays deeper psychological profiles of the characters who persecuted him, such as that of Edward Covey, who was once his master. Covey, an extremely devout Christian and leader in the Methodist church who prayed morning, noon, and night daily, appeared to be more religious than anyone. Covey faced no apparent moral internal conflict at breaking several of the Ten Commandments with actions such as ordering his slave woman to breed with a hired man to produce more slave chattel for his own personal gain. Covey rationalized that any sin that such a devout Christian as he committed would be considered but little offense to God (1053). Douglass observes how his persecutors covered and protected their sins with the cloth of Christianity and it is his examples of these self-justifying practices which reveal exactly how the manipulation of Christian doctrine was performed. For a time, Douglass was owned by a religious slaveholder and also lived in the Christian community of St. Michaels. Douglass' owner, Captain Auld, who was a Christian convert, easily found religious sanction in the Bible for acts of cruelty. Douglass reports having seen Auld tie up a lame young woman, whip her until blood ran down her naked body, and then quote Scripture to the girl to justify the beating: "He that
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