Sunday, September 25, 2011

Frederick Douglass

The 4th of July Speech Frederick Douglass gave was very controversial for its time. Douglass spoke out against the way the government was acting, religion, those who say they are religious and the internal affairs that citizens were ignoring. He brought up the hypocritical nature of the Americans because they are advocating for freedom like there is no tomorrow while here at home they will not let their fellow man free from slavery. The religious aspect of this country is also brought out by demonstrating how people do not really take it as a guide for how they should live their lives. It also shows how the religious leaders do not care about the principle of being christian.
It was interesting that he spoke of the independence of America as "your political freedom" thus, isolating the slaves from that idea of having the luxuries that should be natural of a resident of America. In reality the slaves were anything but free in a "free country" so whenever they heard such things it was feeding on their disgust of the America they lived in. I never thought about the way 4th of July celebrations were loathed so much by the slaves but it is very logical. If America was boasting about having the freedom to be what they wanted and worship like they wanted but at the same time oppressing the slaves, then it must have been an unhappy position to be in.
Douglass had a lot of guts to say that the whole country was not acting in accordance to what the founding fathers had once stated, nor the religious people follow what the bible says. He did not have a problem with the constitution but rather said that it was made "look[ing] beyond the passing moment[s]" and "seized upon eternal principles." It was the people now that only cared about the money they were making out of having slaves that made them act the way they did. This is also the reason that the religious leaders were not in opposition to slavery: If they spoke out  against it then most, if not all people, would not go because they do not want to hear that they are doing wrong and that would equal no income. I noted that Douglass referenced the bible and Jesus a lot in his speech because there were many similarities between the way the government and religion was acting back then and in Jesus' time. They were more focused on following the minuscule details of the law (the fugitive slave act) that they forgot the reason why they came to America in the first place was for that freedom.

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