Analysis Of Frederick Douglas's Speech

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Frederick Douglass once stated that he “did not know [he] was a slave until [he] found out [he] couldn’t do the things [he] wanted” (2012). Slavery once held this man captive until he was able to escape and become “free.” Although he was able to do this, he still was never truly free, for he was a black man in America when the Fugitive Slave Act was still in place. He was asked to speak during a Fourth of July celebration held by the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society in 1852. Because it was a friendly audience, he used this platform in order to point out the irony of the holiday and sway people to become pro-abolition. Through distancing himself from the audience and shifting from praise to blame, Douglass exposes, during a Fourth of July celebration speech, the paradoxical nature within the celebration. He highlights the hypocrisy within the democratic ideals of liberty, justice, and equality, because these basic rights only extended to the white segment of the population and excluded the black members of American society. He begins his speech with the praise of the forefathers of America. “The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and …show more content…
Towards the end of his speech he becomes aggressive and passionate about the topic. This shift in his speech is most likely one that the audience did not expect when they asked if he would speak. He urges the people to think about just how unjust it is that they are not treated as true citizens. “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” (Douglass, 123). This is another example of his use of rhetoric to get his point

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