Frederick Douglass, an American slave

Part 1:
Write a well developed essay answering one of the writing prompts below. In
addition to citing specific evidence from the text to support your thesis, you
should include at least three (3) outside scholarly sources. Make sure that
you adhere to MLA guidelines throughout the entire paper. This paper will
count as both your paper related to Romanticism, but also as your Research
paper, so the grade will count twice.
1.    Scholars have written that in most autobiographies “truth, history and
divinity met as the autobiographer struggled to reveal his or her inner
character.” As you read Douglass' Appendix to his narrative, how does this
observation of scholars apply to Douglass’s narrative? Please cite specific
events and passages in the book to illustrate this thesis.
2.      Although a number of slave narratives were published before
Emancipation, Frederick Douglass’s autobiography became the most noted
and celebrated of these. Analyze the reasons for this fact and support your
thesis with specific historical data about slave narratives in general and
specific quotations from Douglass’s autobiography.
3.      Douglass maintains that slavery dehumanized both the slave and
slaveholder. Quoting specific passages in the Narrative support this thesis
with examples.
4.      Douglass defines freedom as more than escape from the slaveholders.
What is freedom according to Douglass and how does he achieve it? Make
sure to cite specific examples from the Narrative.



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Douglass defines freedom as more than escape from the slaveholders. What is freedom

according to Douglass and how does he achieve it?

Frederick Douglass wrote the “The narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an
American slave” after he escaped from slavery. In the narrative, Douglass describes many
struggles of slavery and significant events that motivated him to fight for his freedom. Mainly,
he defines freedom as more than escape from the slaveholders. Thus, the primary purpose of this
paper is to explore the meaning of freedom according to Douglass and explain how he achieved
his freedom.

Freedom According to Douglass

Douglass realizes the nature of slavery via reading reports and documents that criticized
slavery as a horrible practice. In that regard, Douglass believes that freedom refers to the ability
of a person to be granted the opportunity to engage in activities that pleases him or her. Besides,
freedom is not only characterized by physical liberation, but it is also spiritually and
psychologically liberating (Douglass 17). During slavery, Douglass had no freedom to learn,
read, and write. Thus, his desire to read, learn and write propelled him to cry out to God for a
chance he will gain his freedom.
He also describes that freedom is the most crucial element in life, such that he was
willing to die for his freedom during slavery. He says, “Man is created to be free and utterly detests his condition as a slave. Freedom is the ultimate gift in one’s life” (Douglass 12). In
Douglass’s opinion, freedom is the ultimate gift that propelled him to suffer via extraordinary
obstacles during slavery only to gain his freedom. Besides, Douglass also claims that
slaveholders also understand the value of freedom. Therefore, slaveholders used every measure
to keep slaves ignorant of their freedom. Slaveholders strip slaves of any clue that can offer them
any sense of identity and freedom by keeping them downtrodden and ignorant (Douglass 22). In
Douglass’ opinion, education has the power to make slaves understand their identity and
freedom. Thus, he strongly connected education with the freedom to allow slaves to gain better
opportunities in society.

How Douglass Gained His Freedom

Frederick Douglass was enslaved in Maryland for many years. To achieve his freedom,
he started his life as an abolitionist crusader. The approach enables him to conceal his identity
from slaveholders. He managed to escape slavery in Maryland by impersonating a sailor. After
his escape, he changed his last name to Douglass and dropped Bailer. Besides, Douglass gained
his freedom through his supporters, who managed to raise some money for him to buy his liberty
when he became a free man as stipulated by the law (Douglass & Darrem 24). His supporters
contacted Hugh Auld to allow them to make an arrangement that would purchase Douglass’s
freedom in 1846. Hugh Auld agreed because he came from a family that held Douglass as
Frederick Bailey in slavery.
In the process of achieving his freedom, Douglass stayed in a safe house in New York.
The safe house was run by David Ruggles, who acted as an anti-slavery activist. Douglass seized
rare opportunities in slavery and risked the little he had gathered for the sake of freedom (Slade 45). After a successful escape from slavery, he married a free black woman known as Anna
Murray, where they both settled in Massachusetts. Douglass also acknowledges the role played
by Anna Murray to facilitate the process of achieving his freedom.


Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick & Darrem Franklin. My Bondage and My Freedom. CreateSpace
Independent Publishing Platform. 2015. Print.
Douglass, Frederick. The narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Simon
& Schuster. 2013. Print.
Slade, Suzanne. Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass.
Charlesbridge. 2014. Print.