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"The Hypocrisy of American Slavery"

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Abbey Blake

on 19 December 2014

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Transcript of "The Hypocrisy of American Slavery"

Americans are hypocrites in regards to slavery; if they saw the slaves as the men they are, they would be able to see this irony
Douglass' Speech
Douglass, in his speech, is aggressive toward typical, free American citizens.
He wants to add attention to the slavery that occurs in the country while others
celebrate being free.
"The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me."
I. Invention
"The Hypocrisy of American Slavery"
- Fredrick Douglass

The speech is in the present tense, regarding social problems that had been occurring in the country during the 1800s.
Douglass wrote an autobiography and began a newspaper to inform people of slavery, and similar things, such as the underground railroad.
Well known, educated
Socially high people in Rochester asked Douglass to give a speech to celebrate the Fourth of July.
(A Moral Compass)
Douglass wants his audience to
the fairness of their freedom, while others are born into slavery.
He wishes for the audience to

, that, "above [their] national, tumultuous joy, [he] hear[s] the mournful wail of millions."
Fredrick Douglass wants his entire audience to "affirm the
manhood of the Negro race," and walk out into the country practicing equality.
He is speaking to an audience of white men, who were born as free men, and have not taken into consideration that millions of African American men were born into slavery.
Purpose Cont.
The author uses several methods of development that all support his argument, such as
comparing and

, using
, and
"What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?"
Douglass compares and contrasts a
slave's point of view
of the Fourth of July with the
of a

To a slave, this "holiday"
mocks their imprisonment,
while white men are celebrating the country's freedom and independence. The free men are portrayed as hypocrites through this comparing and contrasting.
"We are engaged in all the enterprises common to other men -- digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific,... -- we are called upon to prove that we are men?"
Exemplifies a common American citizen
African Americans do the same activities that white men do, so why should only black men and women have to fight for their liberty and worth in life?
that all need to see
"I hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them"
Purposes/Functions of Different Sections Of The Speech
Douglass describes his concerns for the men and women in slavery
Serves the purpose of
portraying the horrid lives
of slaves
Ethos, pushes
upon independent audience
Douglass establishes his deductive argument through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos, primarily in the first three paragraphs of his speech. He also establishes his argument through the title, though the establishment is mainly made in paragraph three through his thesis statement.
The title of the speech, "The Hypocrisy of American Slavery" gives the reader a window into the argument right away, without even having read a word of the actual speech. It uses words from the main argument to be found later in the piece, creating a sort of "Aha!" moment for the audience.
The third paragraph really starts the argument ball
rolling with his repeated strikes against the one-
sided celebration he is asked to make a speech at,
effectively establishing both his thesis and his
Within the first two paragraphs of Douglass's speech, he poses many rhetorical questions to the audience to urge them to question the injustices that he would address later in the speech -
Paragraphs 3-12 highlight the nature of "today's" society and criticizes its vulgar actions - I believe that this "section" (the body of the speech) serves to condemn his audience and persuade them to take radical actions - expose hypocritical nature -
African Americans are men
Paragraphs 13-16 provide a solution to the problem of slavery and abolition and implies that the audience to
take immediate action

Comparison and Contrast
passionate, mournful
Douglass passionately
expresses his sorrow
for the men and women who are currently in slavery
His tone emphasizes a
forlorn mood
, acknowledging the "bleeding children of sorrow"
Mood contrasts
what the audience was expecting on the Fourth of July
Scheme: Antithesis
Establishment of Argument
Scheme: Rhetorical Questions
In the
of Douglass's speech, he uses several rhetorical questions to undermine the nature of his fellow Americans actions/thoughts...... "What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?"
in his speech, Douglass poses the valid question regarding every-man's right (African American or White) to freedom ......."Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty?" - This rhetorical question forces the audience to question why a mans right to freedom is taken away - something so simplistic, yet not given to countless men/women
Douglass evokes pathos in his final statements of his speech when asking, "What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?" - This emphasizes that the Fourth of July, a celebration of independence, is meaningless to African Americans, because of the unfortunate reality that they are enslaved and do not have the liberty of something so basic as human freedom.
"You may rejoice, I must mourn"(3)
This passionate statement evokes remorse and regret from the audience... Perhaps makes them regret celebrating independence when so many of Americans were enslaved -it ultimately makes them question their actions
"There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour" (15).
Again, this statement forces the audience to question not only their actions/thoughts, but also the actions/thoughts of their peers
"The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me"
"Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity, which is outraged, in the name of liberty, which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery -- the great sin and shame of America!"
Displays the opposition of African lives with American lives.
Uses "sunlight" as a metaphor to the independence in the United States of America
While U.S. citizens enjoy their freedom, slaves are hurt by the abuse of it.
Douglass has credibility to begin with, as he is a freed slave, and a respected man. He has the experiences of both the common black man and a well-endowed individual in the North.
"America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future"
Douglass repeats the word "false" to highlight the incorrectness in America.
Occurred in the past, currently occurs, and is likely to continue
The purpose of using this repetition is to broadcast the continuous horrible actions done in this "free" country.
Slavery has always been wrong, and it will never stop being false.
"Your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings...are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages"
Everything the nation does as a family, or as a united community, is a veil.
These songs, prayers, etc., are a way to cover up the savage crimes commit daily in America
"shocking and bloody" practices commit to Africans, while U.S. citizens attempt to cover it up, hiding their malice, with community-centered activities
Douglass adds this for the purpose of exposing the true practices of many Americans, portraying the truth about the country on this ironic Fourth of July.
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.
In this statement, Douglass uses logos by saying "seventy-two crimes" to show the immense number of crimes and instances where blacks are treated differently than whites, even by law. It heightens the amount of discrimination and evokes the emotion of sympathy towards the slaves.
Through this quote he brings in the Constitution and the Bible, increasing his credibility by saying they support equality and liberty, but are being disregarded.
Douglass uses pathos liberally throughout his speech in order to reach to his audience on an emotional level - through this use of pathos, the audience is reminded of the vulgarity and sadness of American slavery
Douglass uses logos throughout his speech to provide examples how the blacks are not treated as men, or equal to the whites, supporting his argument.
Douglass uses
throughout his speech in order to emphasize the turmoil that America was in, and the ruin that would soon follow if action was not promptly taken
"America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future." - Douglass personifies America as a women in order to display the countries helplessness
Furthermore, Douglass utilizes
to emphasize the vulgar and desperate state that the slaves, and America as a whole were in
"Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity, which is outraged, in the name of liberty, which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery -- the great sin and shame of America!"
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