Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass (circa 1879).jpg
Douglass in 1879
United States Minister Resident to Haiti
In office
November 14, 1889 – July 30, 1891
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byJohn E. W. Thompson
Succeeded byJohn S. Durham
Personal details
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey

c. February 14, 1817
Cordova, Maryland, U.S.
Died(1895-02-20)February 20, 1895 (aged about 78)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting placeMount Hope Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1838; died 1882)

(m. 1884)
ParentsHarriet Bailey[1]
Aaron Anthony (allegedly)[2]
RelativesDouglass family
OccupationAbolitionist, suffragist, author, editor, diplomat

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1817[a] – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, becoming famous for his oratory[5] and incisive antislavery writings. Accordingly, he was described by abolitionists in his time as a living counterexample to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.[6][7] Likewise, Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.[8]

Douglass wrote three autobiographies, notably describing his experiences as a slave in his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), which became a bestseller, and was influential in promoting the cause of abolition, as was his second book, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855). Following the Civil War, Douglass remained an active campaigner against slavery and wrote his last autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. First published in 1881 and revised in 1892, three years before his death, the book covers events both during and after the Civil War. Douglass also actively supported women's suffrage, and held several public offices. Without his approval, Douglass became the first African-American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate and Vice Presidential nominee of Victoria Woodhull, on the Equal Rights Party ticket.[9]

Douglass believed in dialogue and in making alliances across racial and ideological divides, as well as in the liberal values of the U.S. Constitution.[10] When radical abolitionists, under the motto "No Union with Slaveholders", criticized Douglass' willingness to engage in dialogue with slave owners, he replied: "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."[11]

  1. ^ "How Slavery Affected African American Families". National Humanities Center. n.d. Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "Biography – Early Life". Frederick Douglass Heritage. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  3. ^ William S. McFeely (1991). Frederick Douglass. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 8. ISBN 978-0393634112.
  4. ^ The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: From 1817-1882. p. 2. Retrieved 15 Apr 2020.
  5. ^ Gatewood Jr., Willard B. 1981. "Frederick Douglass and the Building of a 'Wall of Anti-Slavery Fire' 1845–1846. An Essay Review." The Florida Historical Quarterly 59(3):340–44. JSTOR 30147499.
  6. ^ Stewart, Roderick M. 1999. "The Claims of Frederick Douglass Philosophically Considered." Frederick Douglass: A Critical Reader, B. E. Lawson and F. M. Kirkland, eds., pp 155-56. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-20578-4. "Moreover, though he does not make the point explicitly, again the very fact that Douglass is ably disputing this argument on this occasion celebrating a select few's intellect and will (or moral character)—this fact constitutes a living counterexample to the narrowness of the pro-slavery definition of humans."
  7. ^ Hutchison, Michael. 2005. "Frederick Douglass Archived June 15, 2020, at the Wayback Machine." Big Ideas in U.S. History, K. Gordonson. ed., p. 27. Culver City, CA: Social Studies School Service. ISBN 1560042060. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  8. ^ Matlack, James. 1979. "The Autobiographies of Frederick Douglass." Phylon (1960–) 40(1):15–28. doi:10.2307/274419. JSTOR 274419. p. 16: "He spoke too well. … Since he did not talk, look, or act like a slave (in the eyes of Northern audiences), Douglass was denounced as an imposter."
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference VP was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ Foner, Philip; Taylor, Yuval, eds. (1999). Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings. p. 629. ISBN 1556523491. Archived from the original on December 21, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020. let us have liberty, law, and justice first. Let us have the Constitution, with its thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, fairly interpreted, faithfully executed, and cheerfully obeyed in the fullness of their spirit and the completeness of their letter.
  11. ^ Frederick Douglass (1855). The Anti-Slavery Movement, A Lecture by Frederick Douglass before the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society. Press of Lee, Mann & Company, Daily American Office. p. 33. Retrieved October 6, 2010. My point here is, first, the Constitution is, according to its reading, an anti-slavery document; and, secondly, to dissolve the Union, as a means to abolish slavery, is about as wise as it would be to burn up this city, in order to get the thieves out of it. But again, we hear the motto, 'no union with slave-holders;' and I answer it, as the noble champion of liberty, N. P. Rogers, answered it with a more sensible motto, namely—'No union with slave-holding.' I would unite with anybody to do right; and with nobody to do wrong.

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