Frederick Douglass: The Main Goals During The Abolition Movement

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The main goal during the abolition movement was to abolish slavery and grant African-Americans the same freedom as the whites had in America. The methods abolitionists used were images, oral testimony as well as printed narratives published in books, newspapers and pamphlets. By using a multi-media campaign, the abolitionists were able to create a more influential and powerful call to action to their audience. Works written by authors such as Frederick Douglass and Theodore Dwight Weld became some of the most influential pieces of literature during this time because they were powerful enough to undermine the arguments of those who stood in the way of freedom for everyone living in America. In any campaign, the main purpose is to influence …show more content…
These were accounts from slaves themselves depicting the horrors that they called their lives. This form of media was the imperative because the narratives showcased the reality of living in slavery. The purpose was to not only document the realities of slavery for future use, but to evoke an emotional, humanitarian, and Christian response from American readers. After the invention of the cotton gin, slaves were the biggest financial asset an American could own. By freeing their slaves, slave-owners would be basically throwing most of their net worth away. This is why abolitionists had to use such aggressive tactics to make their point. One of the most important and influential slave narratives was that of Frederick Douglass. Douglass was born into slavery, but was able to escape. He then wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which is still to this day considered on one of the most vital pieces of literature in the abolition movement. One of the most important things from his book was he goes into depth about how and why almost all slaves were purposefully kept illiterate. He tells of his mistress, Mrs. Auld and how she began to teach him the alphabet. Once he mastered that, she began to teach him how to spell simple three to four letter words. Though this is where his lessons with his mistress stopped because Mr. Auld forbid his wife from teaching Douglass anymore. Douglass remembers overhearing this conversation between the two and Mr. Auld saying, "if you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master." This was the moment that Douglass realized that literacy meant freedom to a slave. If not physical freedom, it would at least provide intellectual freedom. However, there were many slaves who were illiterate and could not

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