Frederick Douglass

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, British Empire Pages: 3 (1113 words) Published: February 6, 2014

Douglass begins his speech by addressing "Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens." Here, he is likely addressing the president of the Anti-Slavery Society — not the president of the United States. It is noteworthy that Douglass considers himself a citizen, an equal to the spectators in attendance. Throughout this speech, as well as his life, Douglass advocated equal justice and rights, as well as citizenship, for blacks. He begins his speech by modestly apologizing for being nervous in front of the crowd and recognizes that he has come a long way since his escape from slavery. He tells the audience that they have gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July, but he reminds them that the nation is young, and, like a young child, it is still impressionable and capable of positive change. He touches on the history of the American Revolutionaries' fight for freedom against their legal bondage under British rule. He tells the audience that he supports the actions of these revolutionaries. Douglass thereby sets up an argument for the freeing of slaves. He reminds the audience that, in 1776, many people thought it was subversive and dangerous to revolt against British tyranny. In 1852, however, with hindsight, to say "that America was right, and England wrong is exceedingly easy." Similarly, he reasons, in 1852, people consider abolitionism a dangerous and subversive political stance. Douglass thus implies that future generations will probably consider his anti-slavery stance patriotic, just, and reasonable. Douglass praises and respects the signers of the Declaration of Independence, people who put the interests of a country above their own. He concedes, however, that the main purpose of his speech is not to give praise and thanks to these men, for he says that the deeds of those patriots are well known. Instead, he urges his listeners to continue the work of those great revolutionaries who brought freedom and democracy to this land. Douglass then asks a...
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