Fredrick Douglas: Speaker evaluation #2


Professor Womack

Speaker evaluation #2

12 February 2015

Speaker: Fredrick Douglas

Audience: American citizens and many whom were against slavery

Date: speech was given on July 5, 1852 and I listened to it February 10th 2015

Site: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-

of-july/

Occasion: given in Rochester, New York at Corinthian Hall. The ladies Anti slavery

society invited Douglas to speak at their Independence Day celebration.

Thesis Statement: Douglass pointed out the hypocrisy of Fourth of July, which is the day

Americans celebrate freedom and independence, but yet many of the “Americans” were

slaves who did not have any freedom.

Summary of speech:

Douglass starts out the speech by addressing “ Mr. President, friends, and fellow

citizens” and recognizes how he came a long ways from his escape from slavery. He

states that they have gathered to celebrate the fourth of July and makes an analogy as the

nation being young as it is to a young child but there is still hope and capability of

positive change. He also gives the history of the American dRevolution and the fight for

their independence from Britain and then brings of the declaration of independence and

gives respect and praise to the signers. Then he states that the main purpose of the speech

is American slavery and condemns “America for being untrue to its founding principles,

its past, and its present.” He tells the slaves “ your fourth of July is a sham; your boasted

liberty, an unholy license ( for enslaving blacks)… your shouts of liberty and equality,

hollow mockery.”

He spends the next part of the speech backing up his arguments against people are

for slavery. He says “there is no person on earth who would be in favor of becoming a

slave himself. How can it be, therefore, that some people are in favor of imposing

condition on others that they would not impost on themselves?” He also condemns the

American churches that are pro slavery for not speaking against slavery. He comes back

to the topic of American democracy and freedom and criticizes the American ideology as

inconsistent because not everyone is given that right. He incorporates the declaration of

independence, which says that “all men are created equal” and points out how

hypocritical it is because there are still slaves with no freedom.

He ends the speech optimistically and says that one day that one day the belief of

anti slavery will eventually triumph over those who are pro slavery. Also points out

slavery was banned in the British and French colonies and that the cruelties of American

Slavery can no longer be hidden.

Personal insight: I agree 100% with Fredrick Douglass. It made me realize how

hypocritical America was when slavery was still alive because how can people celebrate

independence when half the countries are slaves. I believe that everyone is created equal

and I applaud men like Fredrick Douglass for standing up in what they believe in, it takes

a lot of guts, especially since he was black and a escaped slave.