It is neither. The version below, designed for teachers, provides responses to those questions in the “Text Analysis” section. GAZETTE: What is the historical setting for this speech, and why did Douglass focus on the Fourth of July? had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, today, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. Click here for standards and skills for this lesson. It took 13 years after the speech for slavery to be abolished — 89 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. you this day rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. And each return for evil, good— On what does Douglass base the hope he expresses in this paragraph? In Douglass’s view the patriots established a just nation, one that would not tolerate bondage. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Rather, he seeks to cast his case for abolition in a favorable light and instill hope in his listeners. One of the parts of the speech that resonates with me the most is when Douglass says: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. The time was when such could be done. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. 9. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Because his audience is familiar with the subject matter of Fourth of July speeches and because it recognizes the importance of the occasion, in his introduction Douglass does not have to sketch out his topic or argue for its significance. Here Douglass parallels the indignities slaves suffer in a series of infinitive phrases: “…to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty,” etc. What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? 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. Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. 14. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill. Looking back on America’s revolutionary past, the narration, through implied comparison, condemns America’s slave-holding present. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she [America] is still in the impressible stage of her existence. Interview was lightly edited for clarity and length. I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” [Throughout the speech] Douglass looks at the contradictions between the reality of slavery and the lofty claims of a just society outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. What will this year’s event be like? Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. In every clime be understood, Space is comparatively annihilated. Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? 29. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the Constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. At the same time, we need to be studying the history of slavery and racism in this country so we can build policies, practices, and procedures that address the present problems with those historical inequities in mind. Even Northerners who were anti-slavery were not necessarily pro-abolition. In handling of pandemic? In the 1850s abolition was not a widely embraced movement in the United States. Despite being slaveholders, men like Washington and Jefferson did, in fact, establish a nation built on the ideals of justice and freedom. And from his prison-house the thrall Fellow-citizens; above your national, 36. We need individual events like reading Douglass, but we also need to be thinking about ways to extend this conversation over the long term. 6. There should be no shoulder that does not bear the burden of the government.” He had a prophetic vision for the future that he was always trying to work toward. What point of view does Douglass announce in this paragraph? I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror. 30. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and. No! The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. The nation, Douglass tells his audience, is still young, not set in its way, and thus more susceptible to change. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. This reminds the audience why they are gathered together, and it offers speakers the opportunity to draw inspiration for the future from the event. One of the parts of the speech that resonates with me the most is when Douglass says: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration.     Go forth. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times. //