Rhetorical Analysis Of Frederick Douglass's Speech On Freedom

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On July 4, 1852, former slave and American abolitionist, Frederick Douglass is invited to speak before an abolitionist audience in Rochester, New York. Although the speech should address the greatness and freedom of the nation on independence day, Frederick Douglass uses his platform to display his displeasure with the meaning of freedom in white America. Therefore, the sole purpose of his speech is to unmask the hypocrisy of a nation who dares celebrate freedom and independence while keeping African American slaves. To Douglass, the 4th of July is a constant reminder of the unfairness of the political and social core of the nation. As a social activist and most importantly a former slave, Frederick Douglass uses multiple rhetorical strategies to indict America on the immoral practice of slavery.
Frederick Douglass establishes his own ethos in the opening lines of the speech. He does so by questioning his oratorical authority to speak on freedom with the following rhetoric: “ Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? Frederick Douglass is not saying that he is a nobody, but out of everybody why would he, the former slave and abolitionist, be chosen to to speak on the celebration of freedom. But of course, Frederick Douglas resume suggests that he is educated, experienced and qualified enough to speak on freedom. He was born a slave in Maryland and experienced the horror of slavery first hand. He escaped from slavery and

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