Slavery and Frederick Douglass

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Abolitionism Pages: 6 (1653 words) Published: June 9, 2015
Hernandez, Caitlin
Ms Medellin
English 3
6 April 2014
Slavery and Frederick Douglass
In the 1800's the United States was separated into different sections- The North and the South. They both had many differences but one of the most controversial differences was the issue of slavery. Thomas Jefferson believed that all men should be created equal and included anti-slavery in The Declaration of Independence (Skiba 318). But pressure from Southerner's led to its deletion. Although at one point slavery was illegal there was still smuggling of slaves and many Southerner's felt that it was good for the economy. More than a million African American's were enslaved in the United States and were treated brutally (319). Frederick Douglass, a former slave, spoke of his experiences being a slave and not only how he survived but how he escaped. The purpose of this essay is to inform audiences the evil reality of slavery and the experiences of one slave, Frederick Douglass. Through literacy and the will to survive, Douglass escaped one of the harshest battles for African American slaves in history.

During the civil war era the North was a center for industrial manufacturing and favored high tariffs on imported goods (318). The South was agricultural but also opposed high tariffs because they depended on imported goods. Between the North and the South the biggest difference was the issue of Slavery. When Thomas Jefferson included anti-slavery in The Declaration of Independence Southerners pressured to its deletion. As the plantation system developed Southerner's depended on slaves to carry out harsh work on farms. Southerner's felt that slaves helped the economy. Although the slave trade ended by law in 1808 there was still smuggling of slaves but by 1830 there were approximately 3 million slaves in the United States. Slaves worked sun up to sun down and were put through harsh conditions such as being whipped for minor offenses, being fed meagerly and being taken away from their family. This is evidence of how slavery began and how African American slaves were treated.

In the North there was a movement in ending slavery. The leader of the abolitionists was William Lloyd Garrison. His newspaper, “The Liberator” stood for an end of slavery. Publications from John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish's Freedom Journal were important to anti-slavery. Abolitionists organized the Underground Railroad which was a guide to freeing slaves to the North. The system used railroad terms such as “Conductor” for those who helped slaves escape and “Station” was a stopping place. Through song African American's gave directions to safely escape. Escaped slave Harriet Tubman's was called the “Moses of her People” because of the large amount of slaves she rescued (6).

Frederick Douglass, one of the most notable former slaves of this period was born in February 1818 in a slave cabin in Maryland. At a young age Douglass was separated from his mother and was raised by his grandmother. At age 6, his grandmother took him to the plantation and at age 8 he was sent to Baltimore to serve Hugh and Sophia Auld as a house boy. When he first arrived Sophia taught Douglass the alphabet but soon ended when Hugh opposed her lessons because it was unlawful to teach slaves how to read. In exchange for lessons Douglass gave food to poor children in the neighborhood. Douglass soon became aware of the slave world around him. At age 15 Douglass was sent to work for a harsh slave owner, Edward Covey, Mr. Covey and Douglass engaged in a physical altercation that gave Douglass a feeling of self worth and freedom. When he was 18 he attempted to escape but failed and was sent back to the Auld's in Baltimore (“Ashort”).

At age 20, Douglass successfully escaped to Bedford, Massachusetts by impersonating as a sailor. When he arrived in Bedford Douglass attended an anti-slavery convention and was compelled to speak about his slave experience. Douglass then became a...

Cited: “Biography of Frederick Douglass-Champion of Civil and Women 's Rights” 23May 2012
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. New York: Dover Publications, 1995.
Great Philosophers: Frederick Douglass 23 May 2012
Skiba, L., ed. Literature and the Language Arts: The American Tradition. St Paul: EMC/Paradigm
Publishing , 2005
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