What to the Slave is the Fourth of July

In the beginning of Fredrick Douglass? famous speech, he?s embarrassed to be asked to speak about our nation?s Independence Day, the Fourth of July. At one point he questions, ?Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today?? (pg.503). Douglass requests his audience to be patient and respectful toward him, for he has endured as a former slave.
Through much of the first half of the speech, Douglass describes how our fathers must have felt in 1776. Most were still loyal to Great Britain. The public didn?t know which side to take and if taking one, would seal their fate. Douglass is clearly speaking to a crowd of white and black citizens, by constantly reiterating that he respects the men that brought our great nation together. However, during the speech, he suggests that disastrous times are ahead if things don?t change. The United States are still a young nation that may not be forever.
There?s a hidden anger during Fredrick Douglass? speech of America. After quoting a passage from the Declaration of Independence, his view on the Fourth of July is obvious. ?Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States? (pg.500). He continues to say to the people, you were granted freedom and you reap the fruits of their success. ?The Fourth of July is the first great fact in your nation?s history? Douglass says (pg. 500). To a slave, there?s no independence and there?s no country they could call their own. Although he believes in our choice for independence, Douglass is upset that freedom did not pertain to all men, including slaves.
Americans only validate the facts that highlight their own favors. This is more of a weakness than a patriotic trait. Americans will do whatever it takes to preserve their reputation, but at a cheaply cost. Seeming angered at this point, Douglass tells his audience ?I shall not be charged with slandering Americans? (pg.502).
The last half of the speech appears to be filled with animosity towards America. ?Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?? (pg504) he says. Disregarding the fact that there was slavery and sweeping it under the rug, is a great sin and shameful of Americans.
At the conclusion of the speech, Douglass believes in hope for America. Again, the United States are still a young nation. The repercussions of slavery are certain. Through globalization and commerce, the old system of walled cities and empires can dissolve along with the old system of slaved labor.