Frederick Douglass: From Slave to Statesman

Frederick Douglass was born into enslavement, but through his own heroic efforts came to be one of one of the most influential supporters for freedom in American history. His trip, a story both inspiring and agonizing, must be recognized by every person. Timothy Sandefur, author of “Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man,” overviews us via Douglass’ incredible life.

This video was made in partnership with the American Battlefield Trust. Discover more regarding Frederick Douglas at

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He was one of one of the most revered Americans of the 19th century. His tale of individual victory– humble beginnings to national importance– is equal to or more than that of Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, or Ulysses Grant. He never came to be a political leader, but he talked with presidents as an equivalent.

His name is Frederick Douglass.

Born a slave, Douglass never understood the exact date of his birth, never recognized his father, never ever saw his mom after the age of seven. Slave proprietors often made a factor of separating families.

Technique was preserved through simple anxiety and also ruining self-esteem. A slave can be punished for not functioning hard sufficient, yet also for functioning as well hard– or even for recommending labor-saving concepts. Douglass experienced all of this as well as rebelled against it.
As a teen, he educated himself to read. This created a need for freedom. When his owner uncovered this disturbing advancement, he sent him to cope with a regional farmer, Edward Covey, that made additional money damaging the will of rowdy slaves.

Covey beat Douglass every week for 6 months, often for no factor. Quickly young Frederick provided up all hope of being complimentary.

That all transformed one warm August day in 1835. When Covey struck him, Douglass resisted. Where he found the nerve, he couldn’t state. Both guys had a hard time until Covey stumbled away worn down. Covey never laid a hand on Douglass once again.

The teen servant had defended himself. He considered this one of the most important lesson of his life. Years later on, he would certainly tell this tale when advising black guys to enlist in the Union Army to combat the Confederacy. “You owe it to on your own,” he stated. “You will stand much more put up … and also be less reliant disrespect … You [will be] protecting your own freedom, honor, self-esteem, and also manhood.”

Douglass made his retreat from slavery in 1838, sliding into the North camouflaged as a U.S. Navy sailor. At any kind of point along the rail trip, his lightweight cover might have been blown. Showing a confidence he didn’t actually feel, he bluffed his way past dubious conductors and runaway-slave seekers.

Once in the North, he joined the radical activist activity and also was rapidly recognized as a powerful audio speaker and author. The motion’s leader, William Lloyd Garrison, melted the Constitution at his July 4th speeches. In Garrison’s view, it legally shielded enslavement and was consequently irredeemable.

Yet Douglass came to reject that. He believed that the Constitution was essentially opposed to slavery. “Interpreted as it should certainly be translated,” Douglass said, “the Constitution is a remarkable freedom file.”

Not remarkably, Douglass was a strong fan of the Republican Party– the brand-new anti-slavery event– and of the Union reason in the Civil War.

Lincoln, on the various other hand, constantly admired Douglass. “Here comes my pal Douglass,” Lincoln claimed when he saw him at his second inaugural in 1865.

The Union success ended slavery. Yet as the Democratic Party re-established itself in the South in the 1870s and also ’80s, a brand-new kind of racial oppression emerged in the kind of Jim Crow laws as well as, even worse, prevalent lynching.

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