The Legitamacy Of Frederick Douglass’s Dissent Essay, Research Paper
Frederick Douglass is a person that spoke his mind in a humble way, of which ignorant people would have trouble understanding because they perceive him as stupid because of his skin color. He used his opportunity of giving an Independence Day speech to express the true meaning of what the holiday means to the African American. He spoke in an elegant manner, a language that one would never discern as lame. Frederick Douglass legitimizes his dissent of slavery based upon three reasons: 1) the experiences the forefathers of the nation faced, 2) the Declaration of Independence, and 3) the interpretation of Religion. By supporting these three points in an emotional fashion, he picks apart and critiques of what not only the holiday means to the African Americans, but how the way this society functions means to the African Americans as well.
Douglass s dissent of the wrongdoing of slavery is legitimized by the examples the forefathers portrayed against England. The forefathers of the United States had conflicts with the English government, and fought for an idea of what they believed was correct the idea of which the power of a nation came from the people. Douglass starts off his speech by congratulating the citizens for their political freedom (page 182), stressing the importance of recognizing the forefathers of this country, and reiterates their reasoning. He does this in a clever manner, and also has an objective for doing so. By mentioning, There is consolation in the thought that American is young, he expresses his hope for all people to turn for the better (page 183). I assume that by discussing the experiences of the forefathers, Douglass expected the white majority in America to realize the decadence that slavery has caused within our society.
The Declaration of Independence is a document that has caused speculation amongst arguments of all sorts. We have seen this through the Worker s Declaration of Independence, as well as the Women s Declaration of Independence. However, in his speech, Douglass proclaims an argument for fairness for the African Americans on the basis of this treasured document. To legitimize his dissent of slavery based upon the Declaration of Independence, he questions the audience in his speech, What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? (pages 190-191). He dedicates the continuing section of his speech using analogous language to question behind the reason why slaves aren t men. And because slaves, in his opinion, are men, they should have the rights acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence as well. Douglass supports his argument further more by emotionally stating all of actions of which the African American has done all actions of which obviously indicate behaviors of mankind.
Similar to the Declaration of Independence, religion is another basis for conflicts as well. Because of the support that the Church gives toward slavery, Douglass is totally against the institution of religion. Out of all of the reasons for dissent, I feel that he has the most animosity directed toward religion because of the fact that none of the establishments of religion were punished (page 198). Douglass goes against the ways of religion to a certain extent when he said, in utter denial of the authority of Him by whom they professed to be called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example of the Hebrews, and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, that we ought to obey man s law before the law of God. (page 199). I interpreted this quote as being his way of providing the argument of science vs. religion . Religion has always been a very controversial topic for argument; however, I agree with the points that Douglass made all that were involved in a fault should be punished with no exceptions.
Hypocrisy, in my opinion, is a natural characteristic in our society. People tend to work for the better in our society, and at times totally forget in improving themselves. All of Douglass s points restated the examples of hypocrisy. Of these points, I believe the one that we need to consider in taking a more explicit look in understanding would be the forefathers of this country. The forefathers of our nation may have fought for many things; however, they mainly fought for one reason they were oppressed, and they wanted freedom. But, as we discuss this topic, we can t help but intervene into the other two points. All in all, Douglass has brought his opinions to the table, all of which showed importance. However, from his views, we only see through the eyes of the oppressed, and not understand the views through the other side of the argument. To not be bias, our only alternative would be to question the justification of slavery through the beliefs of slaveholders, etc, but that would be the topic of another discussion.