Abolishing Slavery Hood in America by Frederick Douglass

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The plot is based on the life of Frederick Douglass, a son born to a slave mother, Harriet Bailey, and a slave owner. Its conception was centered around many topics, including ignorance as a weapon of slavery, education as a road to emancipation, slavery’s negative impact on slaveholders, and Christianity as a religion. Religion was evident in the story, where Christian slave owners tended to be deceptive as they used the teachings to explain their ill-treatment of the slaves. Douglass highlighted the practices by the slave owners who raped the slave women to satisfy their sexual desires and increase the slave population. He says that the slaves would sing wild and spontaneous songs that sounded joyful and sad, “I did not understand the deep meaning of the rude and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear” Frederick, Pg. 25. He proceeds to explain the conditions of slave live which included brutal beatings and murder of the slaves which was never noticed by the community or by law.

When Douglass was sent to Baltimore to live with Auld’s family, he received some reading lessons by Mrs. Auld; then he later did it through his means by trading bread to some poor neighborhood for teachings using Thomas’ books. He argues that Mr. Auld “gave the best assurance that I might rely with the utmost confidence on the results which, he said, would flow from teaching me to read” Frederick, Pg. 79). Douglass then discovers that if the slaves were educated, it would be possible for them to be free. Afterwards, he notices abolitionist by the Irish Catholics from movements from the north. In the end, Douglass escapes with his wife to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he makes a living by doing odd jobs as he is unable to find a job as a caulker due to the white caulkers who refused to work with the blacks. Douglass had the fears of being caught and taken back to the south; therefore he attended an anti-slavery convention where he was encouraged to speak. The speech that he gave was the first public speaking which he did in favor of the abolition of slavery and therefore bringing him to his legal freedom and freed his mind too.

The Response to Douglass Contentions

As a New England midwife, I consider Douglass argument to be based on ignorance which resulted to slavery for both whites and blacks. The primary way in which slaves were kept bondage was by sustained ignorance rather than the physical and emotional brutality. The slave masters would give their slaves a holiday at year end to appease them. Due to their ignorance, they spent the brief moments drinking, and they could be tricked into thinking that their option was slaves to alcohol or their masters. The fact that the slaves were not allowed to read or write blinded them of the happenings outside the plantations. They also could not communicate well with each other otherwise would have facilitated in the way to escape from slavery hood and attain self-sufficiency within them. Illiteracy was used as a significant tool for keeping them ignorant and manageable in the days. Education has improved the lives of many slaves as they have had the idea of justice and understanding of the history.

Argument to oppose Slavery

The argument that I would sway for fighting slavery is that there was unlimited power to the slaves and therefore no laws protecting their rights. The slave masters would treat their slaves with so much cruelty as they considered fit. Masters would intensify their inhuman act to the point where slaves’ families would be broken up and sold to different plantations leading to their despair and psychological torture. They would strip any moral to portray kindness and overwork their slaves to gain benefits. It resulted in the deterioration of morals by the white slave owners who rapped the slaves to fulfill their sexual desires yet now law to protect the slaves involved. The slaveholders also became the overall picture of depravity as they would say that it was not to their interest, but they illustrated that there was nothing to stop them from doing it. Fear and instability ware so common in slave lives due to the ill-treatment they received from their masters and the slave owners. Literacy brought the sense that uprising was inevitable. The uprising would only be achieved in the nations that upheld liberty as an essential value to them.

Abolitionism

Abolitionism in the United States was a movement to end the slavery. I would not join the organization as it faced stiff opposition from those that were beneficiaries from it. It also brought the notion that the individual abolitionist could sometimes turn violent in the name of delivering slaves from the slavery hood. Some of the shortcomings in Douglass life that would bring hesitation to being an abolitionist are that he adopts the white society voice to achieve and reflect upon his freedom thus undermining the independence nature. He says that winning the fight with Covey brought to light the few old members of liberty and revived within him a feeling of manhood. Another contradiction was that his freedom by developing masculinity and aspiring for literacy turned into a fight by social and political forces that were determined to have individual freedom. The question to liberate was parallel and was dependent on the self- definition. In his writings, Douglass says about Convey that “He only can understand the deep satisfaction which I experienced, who has himself repelled by force the bloody arm of slavery” (113), the message accepts fashion but he still says that “you weren’t there and therefore cannot truly know”. He seems to affirm the idea though the sentence is not influential to the audience. Douglass wishes to express his sense of freedom but he and others who backed him could not afford the luxury of appealing. They can ill afford to represent their earlier self before transformation by speaking the subjects who warrant them equality with the white people.

The slave narrative demonstrated by the distance between audience and subject reflected on the narrator as he is the one who bridged the gap between the two and signified back and forward movement. The aspect demonstrated a controlled loyalty even after being physically out of it. The independence is seen where there is the denial of the audience by holding back satisfaction details of his escape from the south to the north as his reasons for it was important therefore had to protect those that helped him escape and those that may attempt to in future. The narrative shows inward struggle for freedom that reflects publicized trust to other people who were like Douglass and the manhood state that shows individual identification with them. After his liberation, Douglass admits the truth in his words, “I felt myself a slave and the idea of speaking to white people weighed me down” Frederick, Pg. 150). It is a clear indication that the freedom he acquired was not the exact reason that he his fighting. He got freedom from self- inhibition after years of the society inhibition, and now he is on the active side of the world to effect communication.

Works Cited

Frederick Douglass.”Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, An American slave”, edited by

Benjamin Quartes, Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press, 1960 {1845}, 63.

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