Frederick Douglass

December 12, 2007
By max lipkin, Vero Beach, FL

“Few facts could better illustrate the vast and wonderful change which has taken place in our condition as a people then the fact of our assembling here for the purpose we have today. Harmless, beautiful, proper, and praiseworthy as this demonstration is, I can not forget that no such demonstration would have been tolerated here twenty years ago. The spirit of slavery and barbarism, which still lingers to blight and destroy in some dark and distant parts of our country, would have made our assembling here the signal and excuse for opening upon us all the flood-gates of wrath and violence. That we are here in peace today is a compliment and a credit to American civilization and a prophecy of still greater national enlightenment and progress in the future.”
I chose this segment because it allowed a personal interpretation of the era that Douglass and Lincoln shared. Douglass, Lincoln, and their followers are renowned for fulfilling the prophecy of the American Dream set forth by those seeking justice by reversing the malicious current flowing from the infernally wicked mainstream, slavery, to plant the seed of evolution into American culture.
The American phase of slavery can be understood as taking a dawdling, yet thorough course to reach its destination of emancipation for anyone who was enslaved. Allowing a slave freedom was unfathomable to many Americans during the servility period. Giving a slave human compassion was incorrectly perceived by others as an act of weakness. Douglass, in his autobiography, noted that many men believed that giving a slave anything positive could enlighten him to freedom, thus magnifying what kind of moral strength and courage it took for those against slavery to defy a powerful belief system that was interwoven into majority of society at that time.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Under these principles, abolitionists not only verbalized their displeasure toward slavery, but also took the appropriate actions to get the desired result of liberation.
If one allows himself to strip away the patriotic haze surrounding the icon of Frederick Douglass and concentrate on the specific excerpt from his speech, one can comprehend the colossal transformation from a slavery-ridden nation into a civilized America. That once small seed of evolution has grown and flourished into the bouquet of diversity and liberty we are privileged to enjoy today.

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