Essay about What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July

673 Words Nov 26th, 2013 3 Pages
“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”
On July 4, 1852, Frederick Douglas delivered his “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” speech. At the time this speech was delivered, Douglas was merely an escaped slave who had been taught to read and write by his slave owner’s wife. He used his gift of literacy to fight for the God-given rights of both African-Americans and women. In “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July,” Douglas cunningly uses bold diction and formatting in order to emphasize to his mostly white audience points of conviction concerning slaves. Douglas starts by asking a sequence of rhetorical questions. In order to stress the separation between slaves and those who have their freedom, he refers to "that"
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A slave must be a man if he is seen as “moral, intellectual, and responsible” enough to avoid committing any of the seventy-two crimes punishable by death.
All throughout his speech, it is evident that Douglas relies on simple logic and common sense to prove his points. For example, Douglas points out that if he were to ask any man if slavery was wrong, they would say yes. In addition to this, if he were to ask a man if they wanted to be a slave, they would say no. Additionally, Douglas uses God and the Bible as part of his argument. By doing this, Douglas adds highly credited references that will make any opponent’s counterargument seem unnatural, or from the devil. This tactic also allows him to reverse the white man’s manipulation of the Bible that states slavery is God ordained. He turns the tables by then attacking the church for not doing more to put an end to slavery. He recognizes the vast amount of influence that the church plays on society, for both black and white cultures. The church would make more headway than anything else, in terms of slaves gaining their rights, if only it would properly condemn slavery and preach against its evil.
Although he used his speech to inform his audience of the injustices happening to his people and to convict the un-convicted, it was used primarily as a call to action. Douglas emphasizes his call to action when he says, “For it is not light that is needed but fire.” The light

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