Rhetorical Analysis Of What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July

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During the 1800s in the Americas, Frederick Douglass and the African slaves show their desires for freedom to the whole world. The War of 1812 serves as the catalyst for anti-slavery movements. The Americas were in chaos during the war when African slaves fought on both British and American sides; also, the British burned down the Capitol in Washington DC. Abolitionists such as Nat Turner became more vocal and lead rebellions that eventually ended with over fifty seven whites dead. Frederick Douglass wrote “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” to express his dismay towards the foundations of American values. He sees the holiday as a eye opener to the distance between blacks and whites in American society. His motive is to encourage abolitionists to take a more urgent approach …show more content…
In the introduction, Douglass says that he “distrusts his ability and describes his task of delivering the speech as “unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech” (Douglass 1). He condescends himself in order to be considered humble by Americans. Diction such as “distrusts” and “limited powers” shows Douglass’ ironic self-display. He tries to display humility while justifying his purpose for delivering his speech. Also, when describing the hardships of slaves, he says that “we are ploughing, planting, and reaping…” (5). Frederick Douglass uses “we” to associate himself with the slaves even though he is a free man. The use of “we” shows that slavery will always play a role in his life and his authority as a well respected abolitionist. The commanding tone and language serve Douglass’ ethos. Even though July 4th did not apply to the current slaves, he commends America for its accomplishments and displays hope in ending American slavery which shows his confident