The Criticism Of Slavery Essay

889 words - 4 pages

There is a period of time in American history where slavery was not only allowed,

but part of the original Constitution. However, for as many who were for slavery there was

always a number against it. Slaves themselves, like Frederick Douglass in his

autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, have criticized slavery as well as

American writers, like Henry David Thoreau in his speech "Slavery in Massachusetts".

Despite these two abolitionists being separated by class and education, they share the same

disquiets on enslavement. They both believe slavery to be innately wrong and a crime

against humanity. Because of their differences in life, they had different ...view middle of the document...

.. was permitting [Mr. Loring] to be the umpire in such a case [the Sims

case]" (Thoreau 2049). He asks, "Does anyone think that Justice or God awaits Mr. Loring's

decision? (Thoreau 2047). At the same time, "more than three millions of people have a

right to be freemen or not... has been left to the courts of justice, so called - the Supreme

Court" (Thoreau 2050).

Douglass also blames the hypocrisy of converted men to be a detriment to a free

society. Douglass' mistress experienced a negative conversion; Sophia Auld began as "a

kind and tender-hearted woman", but "slavery had proved as injurious to her as it did to

me" (Douglass 37). She was besmirched by the cruel nature of slavery, as was another of

his masters, Captain Thomas Auld. He became religious, and Douglass hoped "that his

conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves... If it had any effect on his character, it

made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him in his to have been a

much worse man after his conversion than before" (Douglass 51).

Thoreau too believed the Church had been tainted, but he thought it had improved

compared to the Press which "is almost, without exception, corrupt" (Thoreau 2050). He

queries “how many of these preachers preach the truth?" only to answer himself that "they

live and rule only... appealing to the worst, and not the better nature of men" (Thoreau

2051). He notes the two exceptions of the Liberator and the Commonwealth, with the

former impacting Douglass: "Its sympathy for my brethren in bonds–its faithful exposures

of slavery–and its attacks...

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