Frederick Douglass: Important Figures In US History

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In the civil war between the North and South, Frederick Douglass was not a soldier or a politician, but he is a major figure. In the abolition movement, he was known to be the leader and an early champion for women’s rights. Douglass was born in talbot county, Maryland. He kept the idea that this was a war not just to bring the nation back together, but it is a war to end the awful system, of slavery. He wanted to bring equality to black people and make them part of American society. He is seen as a sign of strength, sometimes he has been characterized as a lion because of his image. Some people described his speaking style as a powerful, deep, rich tone of voice. Douglass was very striking as to his appearance as a tall man who attempted to present himself with a strong, forceful appearance(“Frederick Douglass”). His life stands across the 19th century as a symbol of the worst and best in the American character. In today’s American view he would be seen as an amazing person by what he has done in his life considering all the troubles he had dealt with while abolishing slavery and helping the women's rights movement.

He was a slave who saw the worst brutality of slavery. He had freed himself and by luck remade himself. To Douglass’s knowledge, he did not know his age and believed other slaves did not know either. He knew who his mother was although she was distant in another plantation, he did not know who his father was. He had a master known as “Aaron Anthony” who lived in a large white house whom he thought could be his father. Douglass was raised by his grandmother until the age of 6 where he was assigned duties by the white masters (“People & Events”). Even at a young age, Douglass would be in trouble for what he would fail to do. Slavery was viewed with black people being “inferior” and they were there to do the heavy work so that the “superior” whites could spend their time doing more important things. One human being had absolute control over another, blacks could be sold on any given day. Blacks could not control where they went, ate, or conduct for marriage. One of Douglass’s aunts was beaten by his owner Anthony because she had not listened to him so he felt disobeyed. Douglass and people felt like they were free people of color and wondered why there was a difference between being “free” and “enslaved”. Blacks who had less freedom than others noticed it and pursued to receive the same. When Douglass was young he discovered his freedom after he was moved to the plantation known by Hue and it is where he learned to read. During slavery, those blacks were to not know how to read. It was Anthony’s mistress that taught him how to read and it started with the bible. In Baltimore, he would see men and women chained and put on a ship to go to New Orleans in 1845. Douglass got a job in Baltimore, while he was still a slave. He saved money and bought his first book called “The Columbian Orator”. In Baltimore, he found black communities, friends even mentors in a sense of social identity. He met a free black woman named Ana Marie. She was quiet but very supportive of African American women. He was attracted to her and she gave him the support he was looking for and encouraged him in efforts to acquire his freedom. Other slaves found freedom in the underground railroad meaning houses, barns, sheds, and tunnels. There was a bounty on runaway slaves for a reward of 100 dollars, black and white people could claim the reward.

Douglass and Marie had traveled to New York and were married. When they travel to Bedford afterward he tempted to find work which was he was familiar with considering that they also built ships for work(“Frederick Douglass United States”). He had to do odd jobs to survive, but finding work wasn’t the only thing that had concerned him. What he knew was that he was still a slave, runaway, and a fugitive. If he was captured, he could be returned from where he came from. That was the law for a fugitive, if a runaway were to be captured in a different area than where they are owned, they can be returned regardless of the situation. In New Bedford, Douglass learned of the abolition movement. Abolitionists wanted slavery to end and this was a big impact on Douglass’s life.

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In 1847, Douglass was a free man and in the 1850s Frederick Douglass and Anna raised 5 children in Rochester, New York. He started his own paper and named it after himself. Douglass met a man named John Brown, who was a white man and also an abolitionist (Hine P.234). They had a close relationship because Brown had the same view that it was immoral to hold slaves and wanted to free them. Abraham Lincoln was another major figure that took part in freeing the slaves. Lincoln’s presidency had a lot to do with how he took part in freeing the slaves. In today’s world it is known that even if Lincoln did not like blacks or feel good about them, he did believe in the human race and for everyone to be treated equally, he had the right mindset.

In addition, Frederick Douglass’s second cause that was something he wanted to change was the rights of women. He was present in the women's convention in 1848, a woman known as Elizabeth Katy says she never met a man that understood the degradation well enough of women as Douglass did. He used the same arguments and critiques in slavery and defended the idea of women are the owners of themselves. For example, if someone needs to represent women he says that not only do men have to do it, but women need to be able to represent themselves as well. He felt that women have values, ideas, and interests; which should be respected and be treated fairly(“Frederick Douglass”). Also, he argued with the idea that women should disagree with men and not get in trouble for it. He thought that it was okay that women should have a say in important issues and get into politics. How I feel about what he did here is very good because he is getting everyone involved and he has a good view of women.

Frederick Douglass is an important figure in history. He could be seen as an example to never give up because some people would give up for the smallest of things and never be able to learn how to go through hardships as Douglass has. If there was something that would have changed from the decision that he has made is honestly nothing. From the resources they had, Douglass did an exceptional job of using it and doing what he did. Something to mention is that a white person actually went out of their way to teach a black person how to read. My thoughts to that are everything because it was sharing a Bible that contained nothing, but good. It does make me wonder if Douglass had done what he did for women because of that reason, but also his grandma was involved in his life and so women had a positive effect on him. Frederick Douglass without a doubt was a man for the people and he had all the reasons to speak out on what negatively impacted the black people.

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Frederick Douglass: Important Figures In US History. (2021, September 07). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Frederick Douglass: Important Figures In US History.” Edubirdie, 07 Sept. 2021,
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