• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Frederick Douglass Vs. Hamilton. Though abolitionists David Walker and Frederick Douglass both identify with the natural laws and principals found at the very core of Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence, their opinions of this text drastically

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐The American Abolitionist and the Declaration of Independence Harshitha R. Kilari African American Literature I Prof. Farah J. Griffin ENGL V3400.001 October 3rd, 2012 The American Abolitionist and the Declaration of Independence Though abolitionists David Walker and Frederick Douglass both identify with the natural laws and principals found at the very core of Thomas Jefferson?s Declaration of Independence, their opinions of this text drastically diverge as soon as the Declaration is examined alongside the African American culture and the institution of slavery. In this broader, more inclusive context, it is clear that, in his 1850 pamphlet, ?Appeal in Four Articles: Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World,? David Walker chooses to embrace the Declaration and all its promises so he can use the denial of these self-evident rights to create outrage amongst his brethren and challenge his place in American society. In contrast, Frederick Douglass, as demonstrated in his 1852 speech, ?What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?? understands and even admires the ideas inherent in the Declaration of Independence, but, ...read more.


Both Walker?s pamphlet and Douglass?s speech use indirect allusion to borrow the argument being made here without having to restate it: all human beings, regardless of their status or stature, are ultimately ruled only by the laws of nature and those of their God. More simply, Walker and Douglass utilize this argument to quickly justify the idea that a slave, being born a man, should not have to answer to another man. In addition to this central idea of natural law, the Declaration of Independence represents the ideals of liberalism that Walker and Douglass hold dear: (1) all men are created equal, (2) they are endowed by God with unalienable, natural rights, (3) should the institutions of the status quo become destructive, men have the right to abolish them, (4) if subjected to abuses and usurpations, it is men?s duty to cast off the responsible government and secure a better future, and (5) if non-violent means prove to be futile, one must ?acquiesce in the necessity?and hold [the usurpers] as?Enemies in War, in Peace Friends? (1). ...read more.


In short, Walker?s numerous references to America?s founding document are meant to slowly set up the philosophical and moral framework by which Walker?s revolution is justified. Walker, unlike Douglass who seems to reject the use of all force, sanctions the use of violence against the ?natural enemies?who have stolen our rights? (235). This ?call-to-arms? is the purposeful end goal of Walker?s ?Appeal.? He wants to encourage his fellow black brethren to rise up and revolt against their white tyrants, ?whom [they] shall have to contend for [their] lawful right? (235). Walker reinforces this to be the purpose of his pamphlet by assuming the caustic, militant voice of an ?impudent and restless disturber of the public peace? (228) and tries to rouse its black readership into, as the editors of The Norton Anthology describe it, a ?fearless call to radical action?in the name of justice? (227). In contrast, Douglass?s speech, which he delivered in July of 1852 to the Rochester Ladies? Anti-Slavery Society, was (in contrast to Walker?s all-black audience) delivered to a group of forward-minded, white ladies. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 1800-1899 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree 1800-1899 essays

  1. Race and Slavery in the Atlantic World: Assignment one, critical primary source analysis of ...

    I saw no whipping of men' (Douglass, 1986, p148). Douglass also describes how his Christian master, Mr Auld is even more cruel, and does not allow him to be taught to read 'if you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him.'

  2. In the essays Learning to Read and Write and Coming to the Awareness of ...

    His slave mistress, who briefly opened the door to learning, tried to close it when her husband instructed her that teaching a slave to read was unacceptable.

  1. Causes of the civil war. The American civil war was a war that was ...

    With the high population growth in the North, it meant that the Northerners would be at an advantage over the lower population Southerners, now that the fate of the new states would be decided by the consent of the people in the North and South.

  2. Using Internet Resources for Historical Research. Looking for information on the Internet ...

    Information could be used where easy to find and explained answers. The characteristics of Napoleon's relations with his family gave me the picture of him as a human, who also has feelings. I used some of the information about his warfare described on the website could be use to .

  1. An In-depth comparison of two major Confederate Commanders: Robert. E. Lee and Braxton Bragg, ...

    This amounted to incredible losses for the Confederate army. Lee had no choice but to retreat back to Virginia. Over the course of the three days both sides of the battle lost between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers. So why did lee fail here, when he had so spectacularly won at Chancellorsville?

  2. Native Americans and the Buffalo

    Americans would soon be granted their wish of doing away with Native American culture. The end of the American Civil War marked a very pivotal moment in Native American History. Assimilation began to occur between the Native Americans and the white settlers.

  1. US History. The Womens Rights Movement Through the Civil War.

    She then wrote in her diary, " It does my heart good to see them."11. 9 Flexner, Century of Struggle, The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, 85. 10Dubois, Feminism and Suffrage, The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America, 49.

  2. Compare and contrast the European-indigenous encounter in Australia with that of New Zealand. In ...

    that of the Australian, in that a highly organised and well-armed alliance was formed , coalescing under one Maori king and becoming known as the ?King Movement?.[23] Though eventually defeated, the success of the Maori campaign, the respect given to its warriors and the fact that, as Sorrenson identifies, they

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work