The purpose of this paper is to identify three ways in which I note that the life experience of Frederick Douglass represents the enslaved, and one way that appears unique from other slaves. In addition to this, based on Douglass’s Narrative and the Abolitionist, I discuss the reasons that encouraged abolitionists to keep fighting for freedom for the enslaved, and some of the reasons that may have caused some of them to give up.

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Douglass works as a slave on Colonel Lloyd’s plantation in the capacity of a household server. When he reaches seven years of age, he is handed over to Hugh Auld, the son-in-law’s brother of white master Captain Anthony. (Anthony is thought to be the father of Douglass). Auld resides in Baltimore, and although he is freer than he was, Douglass is still enslaved, and Auld and his wife end up being quite cruel to him. During this period, unlike most other slaves, Douglas teaches himself to write and read. Later on, Auld feels that Douglass is not manageable, and he rents him out for 12 months as a slave to a man who is renowned for the harsh treatment of slaves: Edward Covey. Here, Douglass becomes brutish, and is a destroyed man. Douglass is rented out again, this time to William Freeland, who is regarded as a better slave owner. Here, Douglass starts to teach other slaves how to write and read in the homes of black people who are not slaves. Douglass is unique from other slaves as ultimately, as an orator and a writer, he becomes profoundly absorbed with the abolitionist movement (Douglass, 1995).

Some of the reasons which encouraged abolitionists to keep fighting was the deep trauma that they has endured throughout their lifetimes, usually since a child; or the trauma that they witnessed in others. Abolitionists who are not slaves often have a deep humanitarian drive as well. Some may have given up due to being threatened, or due to feeling that they could not fight against the strong wave of corruption and lack of necessary laws and enforcement against slavery (Douglass, 1995, & The Abolisionists, 2015).

  • Douglass, Frederick (1995). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
  • The Abolisionists (2015).