Tuesday, September 27, 2011


“Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to bum their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employments for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.”

This reading was about 4th of July to the slave as well as questions for the slave owners and everyone. I think that it was clear and meant to leave a message for people even today. He wanted his reader to have to think, he creates a clear picture for the reader. He asks questions that many would not dare to ask and he makes statements that are bold and vivid.

I put two of my favorite paragraphs at the top. I really like these, I feel like it can almost be seen as a message or sermon. I like that he is a graphic writer. He makes one see what most pretend they do not know. He paints a picture of what is real and does not “sugarcoat” for anyone. He shows what he believes and stands up for it, not worrying about the outcome. I think this speaks of his character, and shows the reader his passion. This is a topic that many people shy away from; the thing we have to understand is that it was a part of our past. It was a part of who we were and how we got to where we are now. We had to learn from our mistake and slavery was a mistake but it was a way of life at one time. If we do not study and learn about these things we could make the same mistakes again. Maybe not a scale this big but understanding through readings like this where it all started and how it works is very important.

He (Douglass) is a very good writer and creates a lot of emotion and questions with his writing. He can make his reader feel things that they did not know they could feel. I think this reading relates to some of the others because it is about making a “name”. He sees the value of a man’s name and his worth. This was important to him and he wanted us to see that.  

1 comment:

  1. I also really admired the way that Douglass wrote. He just put it out there for everyone to see. He obviously had specific points that he wanted to make and he didn't want to leave any room for interpretation otherwise. His message was definitely convicting (like a sermon can be sometimes) and straightforward and to the point for everyone to see.