Frederick Douglass Speech Analysis

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Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an abolitionist publisher and orator in the anti-slave movement. He was born in to slavery and escaped in 1838. He was invited to speak about how the Fourth of July meant for the black population in the U.S. In acceptance, Douglass presented his speech in Rochester, New York on July 5th 1852. In his speech, he attacks the irony and hypocrisy of the nation’s patriotic holiday that celebrates freedom and independence, while most of the black population were still enslaved.
In the first part of Douglass’s speech, he goes into the history of the revolutionary war. He supports the victories of the American revolution and the political ideology of the founding “fathers”. He also states his support for the Declaration
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He states that for a black man to be asked to celebrate a white man’s freedom from tyranny is “inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony”. With this quote, he defines the evil cruelty of American ideals of freedom and equality. Douglass states that the main topic of his speech is slavery in America. He criticizes the nation for not following their true original founding principles. He urges the audience to fulfill what the country advocated by their founding fathers. He further condones the nation for their cruel hypocrisy. He states that “Your Fourth of July is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license… Your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery.” Douglass also uses his personal experience of enslavement to retort to the people who oppose the idea of abolition. He reasons by asking how could people allow to impose to others such a horrid condition that no one would impose on themselves? He implores that there is no human on earth who is willing to become a slave themselves. Douglass also attacked at churches, ministers, and those who considered the idea of slavery to be a part of God’s divine plan. He compared the people who did not speak out against the existence of slavery in churches to the philosophers who spoke out against the churches of their time like Thomas Pain or …show more content…
His optimism is based on the fact that America was still a young country at the time of his speech. And also the fact that most western countries at the time had already abolished slavery. He therefore believes that slavery in America will eventually come to its end and abolition will rule over the entire country. He states that the evil cruelty of slavery in America can no longer be hidden from the rest of the world. He closes his speech with a poem called “The Triumph of Freedom” by William Lloyd

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