The Slavery Of African Americans Essay

1088 Words Nov 16th, 2015 null Page
In the antebellum period before the Civil War, the southern states of the US depended heavily on slave labor to facilitate economic development. Protecting slavery was essential to them, and they took every measure possible to do so. Trying to prevent any possible path to abolition, they fought to maintain states’ rights as they believed the expansion of the federal government would undermine their ability to protect their “peculiar institution.” However, as they fought the centralization of Washington which they saw as increasingly despotic, they didn’t see how their enslavement of millions of African-Americans was so contradictory to their states’ rights claims. Frederick Douglass, a former slave-turned-abolitionist, however, did. He was given the platform provided by the most nationalistic day of the year, July 4. On the day after, he delivered a scathing speech to white Americans in New York deriding the institution of slavery. By first establishing credibility with his audience then appealing to his audience’s morality and rationality, Douglass effectively highlights the hypocrisy inherent in employing the institution of slavery in a country that values liberty as much as the United States. Douglass sets up the rest of his speech by establishing his respect for America’s founders and the ideas they epitomized. He points out how the founding fathers vehemently opposed the oppression that the British government was trying to force on its subjects and how they resorted…

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