That point is conceded already. The slave-holders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of these same crimes will subject a white man to like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible advantages being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. 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 and write. 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. 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 I will argue with you.
Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, i will, in the name of humanity, which is outraged, in the name of liberty, which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon. "I will not equivocate - write i will not excuse." I will use the severest language i can command, and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slave-holder, shall. But I fancy i hear some 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. Would you argue more and denounce less, would you persuade more and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, i submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must i undertake to prove that the slave is a man?
And let me warn you, that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation (Babylon) whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin. Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, i hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!". To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before god and the world. My subject, then, fellow citizens, is "American Slavery." I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing here, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, i do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this fourth. Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.
4th of July parade - city of Cumming
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 proposal from your independence to us? Would to god, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions. Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, wealth that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man.
In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart.". But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of disparity between. July is yours, not mine. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct.
Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death. This fourth of, july is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, i must mourn.
To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. In this particular", douglass sees the fourth of, july as an opportunity to awaken the moral conscious of White Americans as they celebrate the spirit of independence, in hopes of expanding this enfranchisement of freedom to all of America's children. By, frederick douglass, douglass delivered this speech to the ladies Anti-Slave society in Rochester,. On a day when our nation celebrated its freedom, we continued to foster slavery. The transcript of this speech is often studied by high school students, in addition to his biographies. Lynch's Slave market in 1852, the same year douglass delivered this speech. Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have i or those i represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?
Visit the historic City of Cripple Creek in Colorado - get
For douglass, this is what has become of White citizens in the north. . A nation that eloquently articulated the condition of freedom against the British failed to acknowledge the same in the issue of slavery: ". Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? . That he is the rightful owner of his own body? . you have already declared.". Given this reality, american citizens, especially those in the north, have lost a level of sensitivity to the issue. . In the regaling of freedom in the 4th of, july, douglass suggests that American citizens have little ground to celebrate freedom, while the institution of slavery still exists. . What is experienced by northern and White American citizens cannot be paperless experienced by those who are of color in America: I say it with a sad sense of disparity between. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary!
But essay in a curious way that makes this birthday sweeter. Besides, if the fourth. July teaches us anything its to keep pushing forward without forsaking everything thats past. If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This i believe, inc. Copyright This i believe, inc., all rights reserved. Please contact This i believe, inc., regarding reprints and permissions requests. One of douglass' critical points in the speech is the idea that America has become desensitized to its hypocrisy. .
pudgy little blonde boy with Anglo-Irish ancestors and a crewcut. But youd never willingly give up the responsibility. Too many delicious pleasures come with. For instance, you tell someone, even a grownup, that you were born on the fourth and you can read envy and awe in their face. Its the trump card of all time; beats any combination, any suit. Youre in good company, too, part of a brotherhood: louis Armstrong, george. We dont celebrate the fourth with anything like the same reverence we did back in the day. Maybe we cant; maybe Thomas Wolfe was right: we cant go home again.
Not until after Labor day, which was a good two months away. The fourth was America just hitting the back stretch at Indy. It was a million 10-year old boys hollering: we have not yet begun to play! But the expectations that run silent and deep are the ones you dare not speak aloud to anyone not your parents, not your friends, nobody. These strange are expectations you never shrug off, never outgrow. Because theyre wrapped up in the mythical fabric of 1776, 1865 and June 6th, 1944. Fighting for fundamental beliefs like freedom, a little piece of land, for space to be left alone to think and to do what we damn well please. The martial thump of history marks your every step when youre a child of the fourth. But no one has to tell you that you owe allegiance to the flag and the lincoln Memorial and the brave soldiers at Lexington and Shiloh and Omaha beach.
What to the Slave is the fourth of July?
Sponsor This, essay, being born on the fourth. July carries definite expectations, some subtle, others moredirect. A child born this day in 1950s America was one step closer to heaven than his contemporaries, because surely god was an American and Americans were gods chosen people. Consider some of the public displays of our collective belief. The parades of veterans and marching bands and baton twirling girls in white busbies are for your birthday. Its just coincidence that its the countrys birthday today, too. And the church bells that peal out at noon or 2 pm or whatever time the elders have chosen? Theyre to signal your birthday like a sort of audible Star in the east. Yeah, the best birthday was the fourth: flagbright, hot, sunny, and still; promising mattress barbecue and watermelon, sparklers and flares around the lakeshore at dusk, and fireworks out over the lake at nine oclock.