Frederick Douglass' "Hypocrisy Of American Slavery"

1813 words - 8 pages

Frederick Douglass’ “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery”
Frederick Douglass was a former American slave. He escaped slavery in 1838, and to avoid re-enslavement he fled to England. With help from English Quakers he was able to purchase his freedom from his former slave owners in 1847; he then returned to living in the United States. Throughout his life he helped escaped slaves into Canada. At the time of the speech “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery”, Douglass had been living in Rochester, New York for several years editing a weekly abolitionist newspaper called The North Star. He was invited to give a fourth of July speech by the Ladies Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester. In the early 1850s, ...view middle of the document...

The answer to his question at this time was undoubtedly no, African Americans did not have their freedom like whites did because at the time there were nearly four billion blacks still enslaved in the united states. The Declaration of Independence clearly states “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. This meant that these three rights were to be granted to all American citizens after the United States gained its independence from Great Britain. Douglass argued that these rights had not been given to himself or any other African American. Douglass stated, “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you had brought stripes and death to me. The Fourth of July is yours, not mine”. Douglass speaks and explains how the Fourth of July is not truly an “independence” day for him nor any other African Americans still enslaved. Douglass goes on to say in his speech “that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me on this fourth of July”. This statement shows how Douglass is making the crowd think as to what exactly is the Fourth of July to African Americans. He uses this simple statement to suggest that this day just marks a day where abolitionists point out the United States complete failure to live up to its promise of liberty for all.
Douglass’ tone throughout his speech cannot go unnoticed. Douglass was exhausted, angry and tired with trying to explain and open the eyes of those Americans in the United States that still supported slavery, and did not understand why it should be abolished. Throughout his speech Douglass tries to get the audience to understand his point of view. He states “would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? That he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it”. Douglass continually tried to make his audience understand that they were no different than those African Americans still enslaved in the states, that African Americans too deserved and desired their freedom just as they desired their freedom from Great Britain.
Just as Douglass’ tone was clear, his purpose was also quite evident. He wanted to show the American citizens a clear picture of how unlawful and plain wrong slavery was. Within his speech Douglass says, “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.” Douglass displays how upset and angry he is with the entire American...

Find Another Essay On Frederick Douglass' "Hypocrisy of American Slavery"

Slavery and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

778 words - 3 pages Slavery and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass In 1845, Frederick Douglass told his compelling story of life as slave and as a free man. Through the words of somebody who endured slavery, we can only get a taste of what it was like, for we will never truly know the feeling of the severe physical punishment and the cruelty the slaves endured. Whippings, beatings and lynchings were all too common during the era of slavery. However, not only

Slavery within the Eyes of Frederick Douglass

1327 words - 5 pages history people such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and many others were not afraid of speaking out of what they believed in making change to be visible within the eyes of Americans. Anything is possible as we now have an African American president standing to represent who we are. Through Douglass we were able to see his point of view on slavery and allowed us to realize how much African Americans went through to gain

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: The Evils of Slavery

1025 words - 4 pages Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: A Perspective on the Evils of Slavery The institution of slavery defies the very nature of humanity, truth, and intellect from both the slave and the slave owner. Throughout the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; the terrible relationship between ignorance and suppression is seen time and time again with every one of his owners. Douglass is

Social and Legal Definitions of Slavery Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

3936 words - 16 pages Social and Legal Definitions of Slavery: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Missing Works Cited Mr. Covey seemed now to think he had me, and could do what he pleased; but at this moment -- from whence came the spirit I don't know -- I resolved to fight; and, suiting my action to the resolution, I seized Covey hard by the throat; and as I did so, I rose. (Douglass 112, chapt. 10) In Chapter 10 of Frederick

Huckleberry Finn Frederick Douglass Slavery comparison

876 words - 4 pages Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. However, Mark Twain, author of the former manages to capture some realities within his satirical version of life before the American Civil War. Both novels portray the classic version of slavery, where Africans are inferior to the English, but Twain's version shows neither the extent of violence and cruelty committed upon slaves, nor the double-edged sword that comes with owning slaves.Frederick

The Brutalizing Effects of Slavery Illustrated in the Book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

1697 words - 7 pages Frederick Douglass, the author of the book “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, said “I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both slave and slaveholder” (Douglass, p.71). Modern people can fairly and easily understand the negative effects of slavery upon slave. People have the idea of slaves that they are not allow to learn which makes them unable to read and write and also they don’t have enough time to

Frederick Douglass: The Psychological Approaches Used to Maintain the Institution of Slavery

1612 words - 6 pages Within the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave” Douglass discusses the deplorable conditions in which he and his fellow slaves suffered from. While on Colonel Lloyd’s plantation, slaves were given a “monthly allowance of eight pounds of pork and one bushel of corn” (Douglass 224). Their annual clothing rations weren’t any better; considering the type of field work they did, what little clothing they were given quickly

Comparing Historical Essays About Slavery: comparing writings of John C. Calhoun, George Fitzhugh, Frederick Douglass, and William Craft

1256 words - 5 pages Throughout the years before the Civil War, people from the North and South argued about the institution of slavery. Blacks wanted to be recognized as humans and wanted to have the rights that were given to the whites. Others saw slavery as a way of life and thought that slaves were content under the conditions forced upon them. John C. Calhoun and George Fitzhugh make strong, intellectual arguments defending slavery, but Fredrick Douglass and

This paper is about the different point of views on slavery Frederick Douglass gives in his autobiography, because he experienced slavery first hand

1112 words - 4 pages Shining a New Light on a Dark SituationNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the first of 3 autobiographies written by Douglass, is perhaps the most informative book written on slavery. Slavery is looked at so generally by people of this time. People have very little knowledge of the truths behind slavery. Many people just think of slavery as a white people owning black people and forcing them to work using physical punishment to enforce

Frederick Douglass: Struggles Of The American Slaves

1892 words - 8 pages Frederick Douglass: Struggles of the American Slaves Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery around 1818, will forever remain one of the most important figures in America's struggle for civil rights and racial equality. As an ex-slave, his inspiration grew beyond his boarders to reach the whole world. Without any formal education, Douglass escaped slavery and became a respected American diplomat, a counselor to four presidents, a

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

629 words - 3 pages "Is it possible for the human mind to conceive of a more horrible state of society?" This is the question that William Lloyd Garrison asked in his introduction to the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. To a colored human in the early 1800's, there wasn't a more horrible state of society. It was hard work, day in and day out, with very little food, clothing, and other necessities for healthy living. In his

Similar Essays

The Hypocrisy Of American Slavery, Through The Eyes Of Frederick Douglass

1674 words - 7 pages destiny of the slaves on earth” (Moynahan 551). Christianity was used by abolitionists to argue against slavery, and by slaveholders to argue in favor of slavery. This dichotomy of belief led to the division of the North and South, ultimately playing a hand in the Civil War. What does all this have to do with Frederick Douglass? His view of the American slaveholding Christianity differed greatly from his view of Christ’s Christianity

Frederick Douglass And The Abolition Of Slavery

748 words - 3 pages because his mother was sold when he was an infant, as was a common occurrence in the American South (“Frederick Douglass”). When he was old enough, Douglass was put to work by Edward Lloyd. This is when he experienced the hardships of slavery (“Frederick Douglass”). In 1825, he was transferred to the household of Hugh Auld (“Frederick Douglass”). He learned to read and write from Auld’s wife (“Frederick Douglass”). When Auld found out that his

Frederick Douglass And Slavery Essay

987 words - 4 pages Frederick Douglass's Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the inhumane effects of slavery and Douglass's own triumph over it. His use of vivid language depicts violence against slaves, his personal insights into the dynamics between slaves and slaveholders, and his naming

Frederick Douglass And Slavery Essay

665 words - 3 pages Abolitionist Frederick Douglass was the most distinguished and influential black leaders of the nineteenth century. Douglass focused his writings on the harshness and brutality of slavery. He describes in many of his books accounts of his own experiences as a slave. A reader is able to perceive a clear image of slavery through Douglass' words. His writings explain the effects of slavery and the struggle to overthrow it, as well as the condition