Frederick Douglass's writings reflected many American views that were influenced
by national division. Douglass was a very successful abolitionist who changed America's
views of slavery through his writings and actions. Frederick Douglass had many
achievements throughout his life. Douglass was born a slave in 1817, in Maryland. He
educated himself and became determined to escape the atrocities of slavery. Douglass
attempted to escape slavery once, but failed. He later made a successful escape in 1838.
His fleeing brought him to New Bedford, Massachusetts. Douglass's abolitionist career
began at an antislavery convention at Nantucket, Massachusetts. Here, he showed himself
to be a great speaker. Douglass became involved with many important abolitionist causes,
both through his literary works, and also through activities such as the Underground
Railroad, and also his role in organizing a regiment of former slaves to fight in the Civil
War for the Union army. Due to the Fugitive Slave Laws, Douglass became in danger of
being captured and returned to slavery.
He left America, and stayed in the British Isles.
There he lectured on slavery, and gained the respect of many people, who raised money to
purchase his freedom. In 1847, Douglass relocated to Rochester, New York, and became
the person in charge of the Underground Railroad. Here he also began the abolitionist
newspaper North Star, which he edited until 1860.
In this time period, Douglass became friends with another well known American
abolitionist, John Brown. Brown was involved with the Underground Railroad, and later
wanted Douglass to join him on terroristic attacks on a United States government arsenal
at Harper's Ferry. Douglass declined to participate in such activities. He fled, once again,
to Europe, fearing that his association with John Brown might threaten him. He returned
after several months, and aided in Abraham Lincoln's campaign for president.