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What to the slave is the fourth of july

Frederick Douglass

Kelvin Nguyen

on 8 November 2012

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Transcript of What to the slave is the fourth of july

Frederick Douglass WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS THE FOURTH OF JULY? Frederick Douglass
(1817-1895) Context
•1850s—rising tensions about slavery in the pre-Civil War days •War with Mexico had extended the US to the Pacific Ocean •Douglass’ speech was given on 7-5-1852 to the meeting of the “Rochester Ladies’ Anti-slavery Society”—more on that in the “Audience” section •Fugitive Slave Act of 1850—dramatically changed laws and this led to expansion of abolitionist movement •Compromise of 1850—left expansion of slavery West an open question •External slave trade had been outlawed; internal slave trade was flourishing Audience ourselves Primary audience: Direct: approx. 500-600 participants Focus: Government, all Americans Readers of North Star •Secondary audiences: •Additional audiences: international audiences, Children of Americans How did Douglass pull this off? How did he inspire rather than alienate his audience? Main Points The sunlight that hath brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I unite with you to honor their memory. The Fourth of July is a joyful day to the white American people, but a mockery to the black people. Setting patriotic Americans at ease "Bitter Critique" Hope This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. “This distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable” “It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom.” (Pg 53,Paragraph 4, top 4 lines) “Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day?” (Pg 59, all of paragraph 35) To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, and unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless Citizens, your father made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation's history- the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny. We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. Facts doesn't need to be argued 1. The slave is a man
“Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. "
“What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being.
2. The slave has a right to own his body, right of freedom, education and liberty Slave trade is legal and well supported by Congress
Life of slave
Fugitive Slave Law: “religious liberty” - the fusion of religious and civic identities The church as bulwark of slavery: criticism of Northern ministers who teach that “we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God” The structure of the speech Douglass’ headings
The Internal Slave Trade
Religious Liberty
The Church Responsible
Religion in England and Religion in America
The Constitution

Three parts (Blight): “three essential rhetorical moves”
Setting patriotic Americans at ease
“Bitter critique”
Ending with hope Metaphors “As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure” “The 4th of July in the first great fact in your nation’s history – the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny” Credibility Reference: Bible, Declaration of Independence, Senates
He himself is a former slave, live in plantations, escape many times
An abolitionist, antislavery orator
Consideration (goodwill) A Story of Effects...
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