The Confounding Ambiguity Concerning the Status of the “American” Slave

2059 Words 9 Pages
CRAM Exclusive
Essay Sample
The nationality of the antebellum slave is difficult to define. The original slaves were of African descent, and so, one could argue that the great continent of Africa is the source of their nationality. However, even if this were the case, this provision only encompasses the first generation of Africans bound by American slavery. Well, what about the slaves that were born in America? If one were to consider the principle definition of nationality: “the status of belonging to a particular nation

middle of document…

The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. (2140).
He chooses to deliberately separate himself from the audience. Even while he is a free black man, he elects to speak on behalf of those that are still confined to slavery. Bernard Duffy and Richard Besel, authors of “Recollection, Regret, and Foreboding in Frederick Douglass’s Fourth of July Orations of 1852 and 1875,” put it best when they aver: “while Douglass cannot but admire the impulses toward liberty of the Founding Fathers, he remind his audience that as a former slave and disenfranchised citizen, his perspective is at a great remove from theirs” (8). Duffy and Besel confirm that even as a “free” black man, Douglass is still denied the same rights as white Americans.
Additionally, Douglass uses histrionic imagery to further attest slavery when he declares: “to drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony” (2140). While this statement appears to be contradictory, considering Douglass was a free man at the time, he uses this metaphor as a link to those still bound by American slavery. Duffy and Richard explicate the function of this allegory:
Like all African Americans who lived in the United States in 1852, including those, such as himself, who were
CRAM Exclusive

Related Documents

  • Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Essay

    Along with these, they get their ‘bed’; a coarse blanket that only the men and women were able to obtain. By the end of the day, slaves were too tired to worry about not having a real bed; slaves “old and young, male and female, married or single, dropped down side by side, on one common bed, the cold damp floor, --- each covering himself or herself with their miserable blankets (17).” Another way they were treated like animals were how they were fed. Their food was given to the kids like pigs; a

    Words: 1821 - Pages: 8
  • Contradiction to Relationship: The African American Slave Family

    many slaves who have written about the darkest days of their lives in slave narratives, which exemplify the harsh reality of slavery and its effect on African American individuals. Harriet Jacobs is one of these authors who demonstrated in her narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl that the Institution of Slavery in America created disintegrated African American slave families. It was impossible for slaves to have a stable family, with married two parent households, because the slave masters’

    Words: 2244 - Pages: 9
  • Essay on Health Issues Concerning African American Population

    is prevalent among the African American population. Cancer is defined by Smeltzer & Bare (2003) as a serious disease in which there is abnormal cell growth which disturbs the normal cells in the body. African Americans have the highest cancer mortality rate of any racial group within the United States and their five year cancer survival rate for each cancer site is considerably lower than when compared to white Americans (Smeltzer & Bare, 2003). The African American population is more likely to have

    Words: 2991 - Pages: 12
  • Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Effects on the American Economy

    The Africans were the source of labor in the Americas from the 15th to 19th century. The Europeans starting the Atlantic slave trade affected both America and Africa. In term of how Africa was affected it affected their society greatly. The big lose that the Africans faced was population, it is estimated that about 50 million Africans were lost, and the majority of Africans lost were strong, fit individuals. Population was also lost through those who fled the country to escape being capture. Africans

    Words: 1621 - Pages: 7
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: The Evils of Slavery

    In his account, Douglass further explains how this overseer is the most dreaded of the slaves. This description of the overseer and others helps to illustrate the overseer's primary function as dehumanizing the slaves from the start and throughout their lives. As well as weakening the slaves with physical attacks, another target for their means of control is with separation. This was looked at by the slaves as the worst form of punishment. From the start of the Narrative, Douglass mentions that

    Words: 969 - Pages: 4
  • A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass

    a concept that was unknown to some slaves. Competing with the pigs for food was the only way to stay alive (Prince 2002, 366). Among the many reasons slaves were purchased was to serve as a breeder. For a slave owner to increase his wealth he would buy a woman slave and get her pregnant (Douglass 2002, 387). Any children a slave woman would have would become slaves. Their lives would be immediately filled with fear and loneliness. The harsh treatment of slaves is sickening but the cruelest of masters

    Words: 1292 - Pages: 6
  • One of the Most Violent Slave Rebellions in American History Essay

    On August 21, 1831, Turner and his supporters began their revolt against white slave owners beginning with the killing of his owners, the Travis family (Aptheker). Turner gathered more supporters, growing to a group of up to 60 to 80 slaves, as he and his men continued their murderous killing spree throughout the county side. As slaves, they were unable to recruit weapons, so they secured the arms of those they killed. In total there were about 55 white men, women and children killed during Turner's

    Words: 1115 - Pages: 5
  • To What Extent did Native American Participation in World War I Affect their Attainment of Status

    gain full jurisdiction over Native American people. Although the United States government attempted to establish rights for Native Americans, these efforts were overshadowed by a cultural opinion of Native American inferiority, and the mentality “demonstrated by the educational slogan ‘kill the Indian, save the man.’” After World War I the government continued to pass legislation to obtain Indian lands. The Snyder Act passed in 1921, prevented Native Americans from “claiming services based on

    Words: 1737 - Pages: 7
  • how far do you agree that the years 1945-55 saw only the limited progress in improving the status of african americans?

    power as President to appoint African Americans to important roles; most notably Ralph Bunche who was appointed American Ambassador to the United Nations., he mediated between Israelis and Palestines and thus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950. William Hastie was also appointed as the first black federal judge. Truman also used government power to ensure that lucrative government defence contracts would not go to companies that discriminated against black Americans; the Committee on Government contract

    Words: 1368 - Pages: 6
  • Essay on : “the Ambiguity of Leadership”

    Differences between causality perceived by internal members or outsiders are approached too. In the last part, Conclusion, the main ideas are summarized: (1) analysis results depends on the researcher’s intent (which cause ambiguity of the definition and measurement); (2) Concerning to Leader’s effect, no conclusive answer was reached, evidences of the importance of the interaction between situational factors and leader’s characteristics start to appear; (3) Leadership is associated with a set of myths

    Words: 640 - Pages: 3