Frederick Douglas Essay

Submitted By Andrae'-Holliday Jr.
Words: 659
Pages: 3

Andrae L. Holliday Jr.
Ms. Jordan Von Cannon
English 1001
19 June 2012
Frederick Douglas In Frederick Douglas’s opening statement he states “Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those who I represent to do with your national independence?” He asks these questions because celebrating the fourth of July was mainly for whites. Blacks, although they lived in the United States, were not free. Most African Americans were still owned by slave owners, which made this a false celebration for independence and freedom. By accepting to speak at this celebration, Frederick Douglas, realizes this golden opportunity to express his thoughts and beliefs of freedom. He states “the rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not me.” Showing that he and his people are not able to share the same jubilation, due to the fact that they are not even considered citizens. In his speech, Frederick Douglas points out that political freedom and natural justice is embodied in the Declaration of Independence for all people. Natural justice is the notion that logical reasoning may allow the determination of just, or fair, processes in legal proceedings(legal dictionary), and political freedom is the condition of being free of restraints(dictionary). But because of slavery he and his people he represents are henceforth excluded. Frederick Douglas further states that if the questions he poses in the beginning of his speech could be answered truthfully, then his task would be light and his burden would be easy and delightful. Proof of this injustice is “there are seventy two crimes in the state of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of these same crimes will subject a white man to like punishment.” There are even fines and penalties if one were to teach a slave how to read or write. It is as if a slave is not even a man. Showing that the whites are contradicting the belief of political freedom or natural justice. Frederick Douglas use to be a slave but he escaped up north and traveled to Massachusetts. Once he was settled in order to support himself he had to become a laborer. He later attended anti-slavery conventions and gain attention by many of the members, which gave him a face as a leading abolitionist. With rules of escaped