Essay Example: The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

Published: 2024-01-07
Essay Example: The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History United States Slavery Historical & political figures
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1569 words
14 min read


Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist, social reformer, statesman, and writer. Various attributes of his life make him one of the notable figures in the United States' history. From his life and the influences he created based on his works, various reasons warrant his history study. There are massive contributions that were enhanced by the life choices and stances he took in a celebrated statesman's capacity. Most importantly, being a writer and an abolitionist set the basis for his influence, which is documented in various sources. In this case, his character's analysis is based on the book; The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Different descriptions enhance a better understanding of his nature and the various activities that he was engaged in. There is the highlight of the complete history of his character from birth, all through the relevant historical periods. Therefore, it is essential to get a better understanding of his legacy as detailed in the book.

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Frederick Douglass and Slavery

The background of Frederick Douglass was in slavery, where he was born as a slave, exposing him to a wide range of undesirable situations. The slaves lived unpleasant lives, where they were mistreated and had no rights like the other people. Therefore, that forms the basis of most of the work that was accomplished by Frederick Douglass. His history as a slave motivated him to champion better outcomes for other people so that they would not live in the same conditions that he escaped earlier. The primary reason why he accomplished all that was recorded was that he escaped slavery. The slavery situation was a barrier to the accomplishment of most of the activities that would be implemented and have better outcomes for the slaves (Douglass & Logan, 2003). Therefore, his escape formed the basis for adequate interventions later.

Escape From Slavery

There were numerous attempts by Frederick Douglass to escape from slavery, motivated by the deploring conditions that the slaves lived in. There was a recorded attempt where he tried an escape by posing as a sailor. Frederick Douglass had adequate knowledge about ships and sailing schedules, which came in handy at the time. He was in an excellent position to conceal his identity and travel to New York. He was motivated to move to New York because it was a free state, free from slavery. There, he would have a better life and enhance activities that would sensitize more people about slavery. Based on his actions, he envisioned a better outcome for the other slaves, which would save them from the deplorable conditions they lived in earlier. Therefore, with determination, he dressed as a sailor and managed to get his way to New York, which started his abolitionist journey. However, he did not undertake his activities independently; various individuals came to his help and enabled him to achieve his objectives. That was because he had the motive of engaging in efforts to abolish slavery. There was the need for equal treatment of individuals in society, which would be achieved through collaboration with various individuals.

Various issues motivated Frederick Douglass to escape from slavery, which gave him the determination to leave. First were the conditions that other slaves lived in. There were no equal rights between the slaves and the natives or their masters. Therefore, they lived in conditions inconsistent with the welfare and interests of human beings. That did not please Frederick Douglass and motivated him to engage in efforts to reverse the slavery situation. Moreover, a lack of education was the other issue, which exposed the slaves to a bleak future. Without knowledge, they would have no skills they could use to have a better future. However, he was lucky enough to gain some skills as a slave working in Baltimore. The skills and knowledge he gained there were essential in enabling him to escape as a sailor. However, For the rest of the slaves, could not think of any better way to escape. The masters kept the slaves ignorant, which denied them a sense of individual identity and ambition. That way, the masters could propagate slavery for longer. The slaves were ignorant, and the consequent generations would suffer the same fate. Therefore, the welfare of multiple generations would be exposed to deplorable conditions, which would force them into abject poverty in the long run. Thus, with the skills and knowledge he had, there was a desire to facilitate better welfare for the other slaves. He was motivated to leave for New York, where he would engage in efforts to reverse the slavery situation at the time.

Significant People Who Helped Frederick Douglass

On his arrival in New York, Fredrick Douglas did not know many people because it was foreign territory. However, he needed support to enable him to advance the interests he had when he lived in New York. Therefore, various significant people helped him in his ambition to fight slavery. First, there was Abraham Lincoln, who helped him advance his interests against slavery. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas shared the same opinion about slavery. They were against it because of the adverse effects it had on most people. They were both abolitionists; who were against any slavery-related activities. Abraham Lincoln helped the course of Fredrick Douglas based on his influence. Fredrick Douglas acted as a consultant, where he helped Abraham Lincoln strengthen efforts against slavery (Douglass & Logan, 2003). During the Civil War, in a consultant's capacity, he convinced Abraham Lincoln to support efforts to end slavery. That was based on the highlight of various issues that affected peoples' welfare.

The other person who helped Fredrick Douglas in his ambitions was David Ruggles. He helped Fredrick Douglas in getting freedom from slavery, in addition to uniting with his wife. Furthermore, Anna Murray was Fredrick Douglas' wife, who helped him through money and aid. She was in a better financial position; therefore, she helped him in his efforts to abolish slavery. The significant ways he used were based on his speeches and writing skills. Through financial help, he was in a better position to reach larger audiences. There was more help channeled his way from the larger audiences, and more people adopted his stance against slavery. Those were the major parties that helped Fredrick Douglas in his efforts. The help was in material and also tips on how he could achieve his objectives better. In the long run, he had many conveniences in achieving the goals he had initially.

Role in the Abolitionist Movement in the U.S. and Abroad

The abolitionist movement was a movement that had the principal aim of ending slavery. The ideologies it adopted were all aimed at stopping slavery by instituting campaigns at home and abroad to gain support. Through the abolitionist movement activities, there was a wide variety of effects that were achieved in its favor. Fredrick Douglas is considered one of the greatest abolitionists in the United States and abroad. That was based on the variety of activities that he engaged in to achieve the movement's goals. After his notable influences, became the abolitionist movement leader, enhancing the advancement of the movement's objectives. The significant impact that he had at home and abroad was pushing for equality of human rights. The principal basis of slavery was discrimination against slaves. They were considered less human by their masters. They had limited rights and freedoms, which exposed them to adverse conditions. As a former slave, Fredrick Douglas had a better understanding of the deplorable conditions they lived in.

There are various contributions that Fredrick Douglas had towards the abolitionist movement that can be highlighted. First, he fought for equal rights for all individuals. That included voting for all people and for women. When all people would be allowed to vote, there would be equality because of the effect of democracy. That was one of the best contributions; it gave all the people the power to have their preferences considered in society. As a brilliant speaker author, and leader of the abolitionist movement, he achieved more through his influence. He was in a great position to reach more people and influence them towards adopting his view of abolitionism (Douglass & Logan, 2003). The more people he got through his speeches and publications, the more the abolitionist movement's motive was achieved. As a best-seller, he influenced the attitudes of most people, including policymakers. Therefore, he served the goal of the campaign in an ideal way.

Freedom was one of the significant issues of interest by Fredrick Douglas; because of the cost it had on peoples' welfare. When people were free, they would engage in policymaking and have better lives. Therefore, he engaged in activities that were aimed at giving people freedom in multiple ways. That was highlighted through his motive to have constitutional amendments that would lead to better outcomes among the people—the abolitionist movement aimed for freedom, a matter which Fredrick Douglas had a positive attitude for. Therefore, based on freedom, there was a need for amending the constitution to have the same objective of facilitating freedom for the people. He supported the quest of the Civil War in ensuring the rights of the people were protected. That was boosted by the relationship he had with Abraham Lincoln as his consultant. Therefore, that shows the highlight of the significance he had in the fight against slavery. Based on his contributions, he is considered as one of the greatest abolitionists.

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