Rhetorical Analysis Of Frederick Douglass Speech

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Frederick Douglass was a freed slave in the 1800’s who was famous for his ability to read and write, uncommon of a black man at the time. On July 4th, 1852, he gave a speech to citizens of the United States. In this speech, he called out the “hypocrisy of the nation”(Douglass), questioning the nation's treatment of slaves on a supposed day of independence. Frederick Douglass effectively uses rhetorical strategies to construct his argument and expose the hypocrisy of the nation. One of the rhetorical strategies that Douglass uses extremely effectively is the use of rhetorical questions. He has many of them scattered throughout the speech and they’re meant to make the audience question the nation and their own ways. He begins by asking “Why…show more content…
This is hypocritical in that the white men make these values and traditions a staple of their lives, yet when it comes to slaves, they seem to go away. He also believes that, though he will use “the severest language”(Douglass) he can, he firmly believes that “not one word shall escape me that any man whose… not blinded by prejudice, or… a slave-holder, shall not confess to be right and just”(Douglass). So he sincerely believes that the average human being also knows that the treatment of slaves is unjust and unethical, but they choose not to act on these thoughts. His view, coming from the eyes and thoughts of slaves across America, show how hypocritical the nation actually is in both one sided values and not acting upon their knowledge that what is going on is wrong. Frederick Douglass also uses the point that slaves are human, and are treated as such except in the ways of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He knows that “nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government”(Douglass). He says that there are laws forbidding things such as reading and writing to slaves, yet there is nothing of the sort that in reference to animals or other things one can one. In fact, the slaves are proven human just because nature itself treats them as such. Douglass states, “When the
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