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Rhetorical Analysis Of Douglas's Speech By Frederick Douglass

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On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave his remarks at the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, New York in honor of the Fourth of July. Douglass uses his platform to highlight the irony of inviting a once enslaved man to speak on a day that celebrates freedom, liberty, and justice. To challenge Americans celebration of the Fourth of July, Douglass exposes the hypocrisy of America’s values: they preach and celebrate freedom, yet condone the enslavement of individuals on the basis of skin color. In his speech, Douglass praises the character of the Founding Fathers, then harshly criticizes the character of the American citizens to highlight American hypocrisy. As an ingenious orator, how does Douglass use the two strikingly different passages to build a cohesive argument that convinces his audience to accept his agenda? Douglass wholeheartedly convinces Americans of their hypocritical practice of celebrating freedom but enslaving “inferior” groups of individuals by developing a thorough three step logical progression of his ideas which allows his audience to conclude for themselves the horror of their actions. While it may be true that Douglass ingratiates himself to the audience by praising the Founding Fathers, he actually praises the Founding Fathers to develop the logical progression he alludes to at the beginning of his speech. Douglass proves that America lives in a falsehood of self righteousness by emphasizing the three steps in his logical progression.
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