The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass gives a first person perspective on the life of a slave in the rural south and the city. Frederick Douglass was able to read and think about the evils of slavery and the reasons for its abolishment. Throughout his autobiography Frederick Douglass talks of the many ways a slave and master would be corrupted by the labor system. The master justified his actions through a self-serving religion and a conscience belief that slaves were meant to be in their place. Frederick Douglass noticed that in order to maintain the slaves belief in this system the master had to resort to trickery of a slaves body and mind.
According to Douglass, the treatment of a slave was worse than an animal. Not only was he valued as an animal but also a slave was reduced to an animal when he was as much a man as his keeper. The mental faculty a slave had was diminished through the forbidden nature of reading and learning, as well as the constant drunkenness imposed on the slaves during holidays.
Frederick Douglass had moved into a new mistresses home who had never known of slavery. While she had initially taught him to read, fed him well, and looked upon him like an equal human being, she eventually forbade him from reading and whipped him at her husband’s request. The kind woman he had known became inhumane and degrading because that was required to maintain the unwarranted power over slaves.
As time progressed Henry also thought of the injustice in working and paying the wages he had earned to a master who had no entitlement to them whatsoever. In slavery he had been unable to question anything of his masters doing. He was unable to have rage, sadness, or even sickness, for he would be beaten. Small acts of disobedience had resulted in the murder of many slaves he had known firsthand. These savage acts that occurred to him and around him without the hint of a care for a black slave demanded abolishment.
Douglass points out all the horrid acts slavery allowed, and slaves endured, to show the evils of slavery that show it should be abolished at whatever cost. He then depicts the nature of slavery that requires a master to take away the physical and mental rights of a slave, to show that if rightfully left to their own accord a slave would be as proper a man as any white master. Finally, Douglass also makes the point that the north was better off than the south despite its lack of slave labor. This stressed that although the slaveholders felt they had to hold on tight to slaves for it was their only means of economic survival, the economy could and needed to be successfully restructured to provide freedom for slaves.
He uses examples from his own life to prove each point about the institution’s corruption. A fugitive at the time, Douglass risked his life to present the true nature and name of the villains and oppressors. The sacrifice of his security in order to present the facts makes him a...