Fredrick Douglass and Jefferson on Slavery. Paper Example

Published: 2023-05-01
Fredrick Douglass and Jefferson on Slavery. Paper Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Slavery American history Writers Thomas Jefferson
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 870 words
8 min read

For the past three decades of legal slavery in the United States of America, most scholars and writers have been writing authentic literature on how slavery affected most African American individuals. Just like many other writers in the genre, it is apparent that Fredrick Douglas falls one of the best writers who communicate the conflicting motives of slave life through slave narratives. Fredrick uses critical factors when talking about the most crucial goal that can only be understood by the few intelligent individuals in society. However, the writers were restricted by abolitionists, who argued that they were not following regulations while publishing their narratives about the slave history and lives in America. Also, they proceeded to argue that for someone's work to be published, they must add their authenticating endorsements to any slave narrations throughout the prefaces and even introductions (Douglass, Frederick, and Harriet). Writers such as Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Jacob felt like they were denied the opportunity to express their stories and feelings, which were more personal as a result of being denied the right to exist as human beings in their country. This paper will outline the reasons why Fredrick Douglas decided to use narration when explaining the evil of slavery and how they are related to Jefferson's work regarding the government.

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Fredrick's Narration Reasons

Fredrick decided to narrate the evil of slavery so that people can be able to realize that such practices are ungodly, immoral, unjust, cruel, and unnatural. Also, Douglas utilizes a lot of scorching ironies to expose the evil of slavery, and this began during his rebellion against slavery when he was still a slave. In the narratives, Fredrick decides to depict general recognition of the blacks and some whites, cruelty, injustice, and unnaturalness of slavery, and points out some of the leaders who were taking advantage of the situation (Friedman, Lawrence). The reasons why Fredrick decided to argue against slavery is because of some group of individuals known as apologists for slavery who were always claiming that the blacks were beasts, a degenerated form of human beings or subhuman. Douglas went ahead to criticize the statement made by the apologists for slavery that "blacks are beasts" and replied that slavery had brutalized them.

The narration was used as an instrument of mocking slavery's apologists for showcasing their contradictions and hypocrisies and concluded that the blacks were entirely rational humans just like any other race. Also, with the hypocrisy situation, the slaveholders become insecure that one day the blacks might outdo them in the market, and they decided to ban education for blacks. Douglas went ahead and argued that since the blacks were also humans, they ahead entitlement to the natural rights which were mandated by the natural law, and the federal government was aware of the statement since the Declaration of Independence in America (Friedman, Lawrence). Douglas, in narration, explained the evil of slavery by distancing himself from the dehumanized body of the slave and uses women in his imagery to pass the information. In the narrative, Douglass uses slave songs and explains that during that time of slavery, he did not understand the meanings of the songs fully but since he is no longer a slave.

Similarities between Fredrick Douglass and Jefferson

Jefferson and Douglass had a lot in common when it comes to fighting slavery in the world. Jefferson was among the first writers to publicize in written word and voice that the acts of slavery were wrong and ungodly, and he is against its existence. However, Jefferson did not believe in manumission, which is the immediate freeing of the slaves by their masters but in gradual transitioning, where the slaves were to enslave themselves towards a free society. Some of Jefferson's beliefs relate to those of Douglas, such as education for all, and this means black is given a chance to get an education just like other races.

Jefferson was so hesitant when it comes to freeing slaves following of immediate judicial ways since slavery has been a habit and a norm for 100 years in America and this could not be an easy mission to accomplish (Jefferson, Thomas). Jefferson went ahead and adopted Fredrick's idea of where the Native Americans and blacks were inferior to the whites and the only way to make these races equal is by making sure they mix with the whites and get mulatto children.

In conclusion, Douglass and Jefferson both know the evils of slavery and the impacts they have on humankind. Douglass uses narration as the best strategy to express the actions and mistreatment that the blacks experience under their different masters. Jefferson also falls in the same path of trying to eliminate the slavery practices in a systematic way that will please both the slave owners and the public. Therefore, the writers use narration, which is a literary stylistic, to express their feelings and grievances in a hidden manner.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick, and Harriet A. Jacobs. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Random House Digital, Inc., 2000.

Friedman, Lawrence J. Gregarious Saints: Self and Community in American Abolitionism, 1830-1870. Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Jefferson, Thomas. Jefferson: political writings. Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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Fredrick Douglass and Jefferson on Slavery. Paper Example. (2023, May 01). Retrieved from

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