A Quick Biography• There is no for sure date as Despite there being no to which Frederick Douglass exact date of birth It is known, as stated by was born, as at this time in Douglass in his narrative that slavery, many of the slaves known for Douglass, we had no idea as to when they do know that he “was he always wished he knew his were born. Slave owners did age, as all the other “white born in Tuckahoe, near not want them knowing their kids” knew theirs, but him Hillsborough, and along with all the other black dates of birth, for many reasons as this would be about twelve miles from slaves had no idea. handing them Knowledge. Easton, in Talbot county, Maryland”. When Douglass was veryDouglass’ mother was named Throughout Douglass’ life, he young, “when [he] was an“Harriet Bailey” and was a black infant” he was separated from saw his mother maybe “fivewomen. His father on the other his mother. This was common times” and they were never forhand was a “white man” and in Maryland at this time. The a significant amount of time.Douglass knew very little of him, separation would happen so Whenever he saw her, it wascommon to most slave families in that no close “only at night,” and he wasthis region. connection/affection with never able t build a connection mother and child would be with his mother like children made, thus making it easier to sell the slaves. today would experience.
Biography Continued.. Douglass’ mother worked as a slave in the fields on the farm in which her owner had. His mother died when he was around “seven years” old from an illness, and as Douglass states, while she had this illness he was not allowed to see her at all. Douglass shares that he never had a relationship with his mother in which a child should have, “Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watch-ful care”. For the beginning of Douglass’ childhood, he did not see of the brutality that the slaves faced, until he saw his Aunt Hester be whipped brutally, which Douglass went on to say changed his life forever. This was the first time he had witnessed the abuse masters put forth on their slaves. Douglass recalls, “I was so terrified and horror-stricken at the sight, that I hid myself in a closet, and dared not venture out till long after the bloody transaction was over. I expected it would be my turn next. It was all new to me. I had never seen any thing like it before”. To Douglass, leaving this plantation was the door opening for his freedom, as he"I shall never forget it stateswhilst I remember Douglass lived on a plantation of Colonel “ I look upon my departure from Colonelanything. It was the Lloyds, his master being Captain Auld. Lloyds plantation as one of the mostblood-stained gate On this plantation Douglass recalls seeing interesting events ofthrough which I was many abuse situations/whipping carried out my life. It is possible, and even quiteabout to pass . . . the by the overseer’s of the plantation. probable, that but for the mereentrance to the hell of Douglass while on the plantation was “too circumstance of being removedslavery." young to work” therefore he spent most of from that plantation to Baltimore, I should his day doing nothing significant. have to-day, instead of being here seated Douglass when around seven or eight was by my own table, able to leave the plantation and found in the enjoyment of freedom and the himself a new master, Hugh Auld and his happiness of home, writing this Narrative, wife. been confined in the galling chains of slavery.”
Figure 2Douglass’ new home provided him Throughout the rest of Douglass’ early with the beginning of life, he managed to get himself to New education. His new mistress After this, Douglass began to “self- York, where he would begin to build his would begin to teach him how educate himself by reading everything fame. He would “begin his career as an to read and write small he could get his hands on”. abolitionist orator, writer, newspaper words, until her husband publisher and governmental official. found out and put a stop to it. Douglass published three autobiographical books.
A Fight to End Slavery. The abolition of Slavery was not successful just because Lincoln was coining for it, but because black abolitionists, like Frederick Douglass became educated, stood up for themselves, published works, got their voices heard, and thus made a huge impact on American citizens. If Lincoln did not have Douglass, and Douglass did not have Lincoln, the abolition of slavery would not of happened when it did. "I am not indifferent to the claims of a generous forgetfulness, but whatever else I may forget, I shall never forget the difference between those who fought for liberty and those who fought for slavery; between those who fought to save the republic and those who fought to destroy it.” Frederick Douglass “There can be no peace or unity in this country while slavery exists.“ Frederick DouglassFrederick Douglass retrieved the freedom in which he sought after his whole childhood,and he would use this freedom into his late adult hood working to gain freedom for therest of the blacks in America. Douglass spent almost all his spare time working towards thefreedom and abolition of slavery. Douglass, was a well known politician and oftenmistakenly tied to Lincoln, with people assuming they were long time friends. This in fact,was not the case. Lincoln subtly made movements towards the abolition of slavery andtowards blacks freedom, but for Douglass, in the beginning this was far too slow. Douglassfelt as though Lincoln should be progressing faster, and building a much bigger forefrontagainst slavery.
The Bond that grew...In the Beginning of Lincoln’s time, Douglass did not hide his ideas that Lincoln was not doing a good enough job. Yes, he was advocating for the end of slavery, but in Douglass’ eyes, he was not being aggressive enough. Douglass made it well known his ideas and thoughts. The public knew exactly where he stood in terms of slavery and emancipation.It would not be until later that Douglass finally began to believe in Lincoln. As he states: “ [I can]see where the Presidents heart is. I see...a brave man trying against great odds, to do right.... He is tall and strong but he is not done growing, he grows as the nation grows.... He has dared to say that the highest interest of the country will be promoted by the abolition of slavery”. Lincoln and Douglass would meet a couple times, and over the course of theses visits Lincoln would explain to Douglass how he could not just jump right in there, and how for him to keep his power, he had to approach the issue much softer than someone like Douglass could. Lincoln would then ask Douglass to help him with his goals, and kept communication with him frequently. This made Douglass realize where Lincoln was coming from, and thus he accepted the slower pace at the race for the same ending.
It was quite evident that for either Douglass or Lincoln to succeed with their fight, they needed each other. Before they built a relationship, each was fighting to the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the enslaved. But each had struggles and each were moving at different paces. But together, these two men were like a power house.Douglass was able to see that Lincoln really did believe slavery should be no longer. He was not just saying it to win some votes, he was saying it because that is what he believed, He clearly thought that the states needed to put an end to these horrific events. And once Douglass authenticated this feeling from Lincoln, together they stood behind the movement and made it happen.If it was not for this paring, I would say its safe to assume many black people would not have trusted Lincolns intentions, but with Douglass’ support, fellow blacks probably felt much more comfortable following him.One these two became unified and began working together towards the same outcome, yet in different ways, it was as if the torch was finally lit, the ball was finally rolling.
Some would present the argument that These two men opened it was merely Lincoln who two different doors, established emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery. Others and fought alongside will argue that it was educated each other for the black abolitionists like Frederick abolition and Douglass that made it happen. emancipation ofHowever, I strongly feel like it was a slavery/slaves. result of the intertwining of the Without each other two. Before Lincoln, there were they would not have educated blacks who were fighting for these issues and trying ever so progressed as big and hard to gain freedom for all blacks as far as they did. in America, but none could fully Together these two succeed. At the same time, when men achieved a lot, Lincoln first came to power, the and they were able to South was still strongly against these ideas and thus Lincoln to put aside differences keep the power, had to only lightly in the beginning to suggest such an idea, but make it lead American on the seem as if he were not taking sides. right path, despite However, when Douglass and those who were Lincoln finally came together and strongly against their were working together things Figure 3 began to change. The movement(those Emancipation Proclamation was mostly being the brought into play by Lincoln in Southerners). 1863.
The quotation below sums up the relationship between Douglass and Lincoln, stressing their importance to one another, and the success of the outcome of their fight for freedom.“It is difficult to imagine slaverys successful demise or Black troops in the Union Army without these two men juxtaposed as they were. That juxtaposition, however, included Douglasss understandable mistrust, disappointment, and public criticism of Lincoln, and Lincolns early expedient avoidance of Douglass. Abraham Lincoln might not have achieved the presidency and thus the power to end slavery had he been visibly linked with Frederick Douglass. Douglass, whose passionate agitation was essential as both a prod and a foil for the presidents ability to act, undoubtedly helped lay groundwork for Lincoln even when Lincolns inaction or words infuriated him. That Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were allies upon the end of slavery is inspirational”.
Author Unknown, Frederick Douglass Anti-slavery Orator, Writer : 1818 - 1895 ,Americans Who Tell the Truth, <http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/frederick-douglass> (accessed 07 October 2012)Author Unknown, Frederick Douglass,Wikipedia,<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass> (accessed 09 October 2012)Author Unknown, Teaching History With Children’s Literature: Lincoln and Douglass AnAmerican Friendship,Wikipedia, <http://blog.richmond.edu/openwidelookinside/archives/361>(accessed 09 October 2012)Bromell, Nick. "The Liberal Imagination of Frederick Douglass: Honoring the emotions that give life to liberal principles." American Scholar 77, no. 2 (Spring2008 2008): 34-45. America: History and Life with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed October 11, 2012).Douglass, Frederick. “A Narrative on the Life of Frederick Douglass,” An American Slave (1845). http://www.onlineliterature.com/frederick_douglass/frederick_douglass_narrative/1/(October 5, 2012).Sturdevant, Katherine Scott, and Stephen Collin. "FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN ON BLACK EQUITY IN THE CIVIL WAR: A HISTORICAL-RHETORICAL PERSPECTIVE." Black History Bulletin 73, no. 2 (Fall2010 2010): 8-15. America: History and Life with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed October 11, 2012).