Thursday, September 22, 2011

Frederick Douglass

         In the beginning of this speech Frederick Douglas discusses the Fourth of July and what it means to the general American public.  He discusses how he is glad that America is still a young country, and then goes into why he himself feels separated from the celebration of the 4th of July. Throughout the rest of the speech Douglas explores the obvious issues with the American Slave Trade and the various reasons why it is so rampant in the American South. He also discusses how the slave interprets the celebration of the Fourth of July holiday.
         As I read the speech I noticed that Douglas repeatedly uses the word “YOUR” when he refers to the country of America and the American government. Even though he is a free man, and an American citizen himself, he never uses the word “OUR”. I believe he makes this distinction to show his separation, as a former slave, from the “liberty” that white Americans celebrated on the Fourth of July. This also illustrates to Douglass’ audience that there are still individuals in America who are American citizens, but are robbed of their freedom and liberty.
         Douglass’ discussion about the church in America of course connected to Cartwright’s opinions on this issue as well. Douglass says that the church is not only guilty of being indifferent to slavery, but worse yet “takes sides with the oppressors”. He also makes the claim that the church has the power to abolish slavery, but instead chooses not to. I believe this parallels with what Cartwright argued about the Methodist church.
         I think that for a black man in this time to say the things Douglass said in front of a group of white Americans, even if they were abolitionists, was very brave. Douglass made strong accusations and pointed out some very disturbing issues in American society. Even with all of the dismal aspects of slavery looming over him I believe Douglass had hope for America. In the final paragraph he speaks about the ways in which the world is changing, and how slavery will not be able to hide quietly in the American south much longer. The spread of information and commerce across the world seemed to give Douglass hope that change would soon be upon America. 

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