Frederick Douglass: A Catalyst for Abolition and the Battle Against Injustice
Introduction: Challenging the Legacy of Slavery
I’ve been against slavery since my father was an abolitionist in the early 1800s and 1800s. He used to tell me stories of Gabriel Prosser, who almost led the biggest slave revolt that the South had seen, had two slaves not spoiled the plot. Everyone has the right to be free and do whatever it is that they want with their life. Owning another person is immoral, and the only place left in the world with slaves is the United States. In Massachusetts, we never needed any slaves to make a living, so why should they be in the South? Slaves in the South long to be free men and women but are too afraid to say anything, fearing the repercussions if the plantation owner finds out. Frederick Douglass’s story really struck me and showed me what slavery truly was: an abominable institution with too many fallacies to count. Slavery should be abolished because getting rich from slave labor is wrong, but so is the idea of owning another person.
Frederick Douglass: A Journey from Bondage to Inspiration
Frederick Douglass was born a slave but became a free man. He did not know his exact age or his father. All he knows is his father was a white man. His struggle inspired many slaves in the South to try to do the same as he did. Douglass was an incredibly smart man who knew that slavery was wrong (as most slaves did) but also learned how to read and write. Something that most slaves could not dream of but never actually achieve. Slave owner’sowner’s main goal is to keep slaves stupid when they are on the plantation. When you take away someone’s ability to be literate, it makes them simple. This way, the likelihood of a rebellion was way smaller. Frederick Douglass is the reason that they would have nightmares. Douglass was named a problem slave early in his life. After he was transported from Annapolis to Baltimore when he was seven or eight, his new master, the Aulds, showed him a strange kindness. Mrs. Auld, the overseer’s overseer’s wife, started to teach him small words and the alphabet when Douglass came to the new plantation.
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She also would not punish him for looking her in the eye. After a while, slavery had corrupted her, a once decent woman who was not tainted by the norms of slavery. Mr. Auld explained to her that teaching slaves was dangerous, fearing them having any thoughts of their own. When Douglas hears this, he instinctively knows that slavery is evil, but he still does not know exactly how it works. The point is that the abolition of slavery should be effective immediately because not only does it have an effect on the slaves, but the owners as well, who keep getting harsher. People who are innocent can easily become corrupted by the evils of slavery. Douglass also recalls other horrible tragedies that he had witnessed during his time as a slave.
Douglass considered his start of being a slave when Aunt Hester was whipped by Captain Anthony. This was the first time that he was initiated into the horrors of slavery. Abolishment of slavery is crucial as no one should have to go through what Douglass did. When he saw Aunt Hester get whipped, he realized that slavery does not only control people physically but mentally, too. This is why slave owners liked to keep slaves uneducated. The psychological torment that these people had to go through was truly horrifying. Douglass says that slaves would argue with one another over whose master was nicer than the other. They would argue whether or not their master was nice at all. While life was truly horrible for most slaves, they were too afraid to speak out. When people would ask them if they were happy with their life, they would say “”yes”” out of the fear that the masters would imbue into them.
Unmasking the Atrocities: Douglass’ Revelation of Slavery’s Psychological Torture
The next half of Douglas’Douglas’ life inspired me to become an abolitionist. After Douglass read “”The Columbian Orator,”” he started to become an abolitionist. He had heard this word being used before, but he was not sure what it meant. The Columbian Orator was about a master and slave and their dialogue together. The slave was making an argument that slavery was wrong, and the master was arguing that it was okay. In the end, the slave refuted all the points of the master, and eventually, the master let the slave go. The pure lack of inhumanity that slave owners have towards their slaves is another reason I believe that slavery should be abolished immediately. After Douglass was a slave for the Aulds for a few years, he was moved to Edward Covey’s plantation.
There were rumors that Covey was a much harsher master than the Auld’s. In part due to the fact that Mr. Auld had been adopted into slavery rather than born into it. Covey often whipped him for being awkward until, one day, he had enough. Douglass had collapsed from heat exhaustion when Covey had found him and beat him with a plank. The hell that Douglass describes in his autobiography alone should be enough for everyone to support abolition. Douglass’ life mimics so many other slaves who had to endure a life of slavery. The exception to this equation was Douglass. He fled Mr. Auld’s plantation on September 3rd, 1838, through various means that he would not describe in detail. Douglass’ story is very important in getting the message out there that slavery is unethical and dehumanizing. Douglass had pointed something out that had been overlooked before. Masters keep slaves as slaves by keeping them uneducated. It is the most evil thing that they can do to keep them docile.
From 1854 until 1859, there was a war in Kansas. This war was fought by pro-slavery and anti-slavery lobbyists. Under popular sovereignty, the weight of this decision belonged to the states. On both sides of this war, there was much bloodshed, such as the Pottawatomie Massacre that happened in retaliation to an anti-slavery settler being murdered. The struggle between both sides of the settlers was very political. This brings me to my next point, that slavery should be abolished because it is a political hot-button issue. Presidents never dared to talk about it in public because whichever way they decided to lean would significantly impact American history. Kansas was eventually admitted as a free state in 1862. Bleeding Kansas was an important issue to me when I chose to become an abolitionist because it showed how high the tensions were over slavery in America at the time. If slavery had been abolished, there would not have been a small civil war in Kansas.
Conclusion: Embracing the Call for Abolition
I think that what made me most want to be an abolitionist is the autobiography that Douglass wrote because it shed light on slavery in a more personal way than ever before. His real experiences caused many people, including myself, to reach out to him and see slavery for what it truly is. Bleeding Kansas was also really important in my decision to become an abolitionist because it showed how important it was for both sides to have their way. People were massacring each other in Kansas just to have it be a slave state. I think that it is important to abolish slavery and give reparations to the families that have been torn apart due to it. I want to do my part in freeing these men and women who deserve the same rights as everyone else. So please, join me in supporting the abolitionist movement.