It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. The audience must fulfill what the founders of the country advocated. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. Instead, he urges his listeners to continue the work of those great revolutionaries who brought freedom and democracy to this land. CliffsNotes study guides are written by real teachers and professors, so no matter what you're studying, CliffsNotes can ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart.". For who is there so cold, that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? He considers such a pro-slavery posture to be blasphemy because it gives cruelty a place in God's nature. Nations, particularly Western countries, in the mid-nineteenth century were generally against slavery. In every clime be understood, The claims of human brotherhood, And each return for evil, good, Not blow for blow; That day will come all feuds to end, And change into a faithful friend Each foe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. He argues that no longer can the cruelties of American slavery be hidden from the rest of the world. The Document | Douglass concludes on an optimistic note. %%EOF Removing #book# "The arm of the Lord is not shortened," and the doom of slavery is certain. 0 I will not. Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. They that can, may; I cannot. and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly As for those who maintain that slavery is part of a divine plan, Douglass argues that something which is inhuman cannot be considered divine. No! When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery.". He tells the audience that he supports the actions of these revolutionaries. Among his well-known speeches is "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro," presented in Rochester, New York, on July 5, 1852, a version of which he published as a booklet. Nobody doubts it. 117 0 obj <> endobj Indeed, he says, to ask a black person to celebrate the white man's freedom from oppression and tyranny is "inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony." That point is conceded already. Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? He mentions that in Baltimore, slave traders transported slaves in chains to ships in the dead of night because anti-slavery activism had made the public aware of the cruelty of that trade. Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro By FREDERICK DOUGLASS. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Among his well-known speeches is "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro," presented in Rochester, New York, on July 5, 1852, a version of which he published as a booklet. h�b```b``e`a`����π ���@q�P�>5N�����63O��ᾠ�a��F+����nQ� ����AG��!�g�6t.�@��"5� -�B`m���IL_�N��UJvXpd���52~�8_$������ H3�~n�&cb#D���5c.A�,��4k��a`,|f�0 ��:| Critical Essays The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro Frederick Douglass was a fiery orator and his speeches were often published in various abolitionist newspapers. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. Declaration Timeline | 152 0 obj <>stream For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. Here, he is likely addressing the president of the Anti-Slavery Society — not the president of the United States. When from their galling chains set free, Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee, And wear the yoke of tyranny Like brutes no more. — Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other. Douglass moved to Rochester in 1847, when he became the publisher of The North Star, an abolitionist weekly. If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory. But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, "It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Trade and commerce have opened up borders, and political ideas know no boundaries. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. A speech given at Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852. There is blasphemy in the thought. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man! What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their mastcrs? — The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. Douglass thereby sets up an argument for the freeing of slaves. In 1852, however, with hindsight, to say "that America was right, and England wrong is exceedingly easy." You may rejoice, I must mourn. A speech given at Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852 . He had been invited to speak about what the Fourth of July means for America's black population, and while the first part of his speech praises what the founding fathers did for this country, his speech soon develops into a condemnation of the attitude of American society toward slavery. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? War Timeline | He criticizes American ideology as inconsistent. That year will come, and freedom's reign, To man his plundered rights again Restore. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. Douglass thus implies that future generations will probably consider his anti-slavery stance patriotic, just, and reasonable. Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. He says there is no person on earth who would be in favor of becoming a slave himself. Similarly, he reasons, in 1852, people consider abolitionism a dangerous and subversive political stance. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. (Under this Act, even freed blacks could easily be accused of being fugitive slaves and taken to the South.) I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people! ...Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. Certainly, on THAT 4th of JULY, the Great Orator, truly had reason to lament the hypocrisy of this nation toward Africans. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
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