The Slavery Of The United States

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Growing up as a child, you are always told that violence is never the correct way to handle an unfair situation or conflict and that you should always use your words and not your fists. Violence is seen as uncivil and barbaric, to be avoided at all costs. However, the institution of slavery is itself uncivil and barbaric, and in the case of the slave Frederick Douglass, violence became the only viable option, even as a boy/young man. Fighting and not conforming to impossible demands of his overseer, Mr. Covey, was the only way that Douglass could avoid the horrible beatings that were among the worst hardships of slavery. While I do think that fighting back was the right thing for Douglass to do, I don’t think that his choice to fight back was the most meaningful turning point to his emancipation. Learning how to read and write was what set Douglass apart from the other slaves that he was amongst, and what led him to learn about the better opportunities in the North and inspired him to risk everything to escape to where he could live a free life as a free man.
I believe that Douglass’s fighting off Mr. Covey, who was “leasing” Douglass from his owner, was the right thing to do. When Mr. Covey made impossible demands and beat Douglass viciously, Douglass did not initially resort to violence. He first sought the protection of his owner, Thomas Auld. This was a bold and desperate thing to do, since slaves could not challenge the words or actions of a white man without risking
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