Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Essay by bigwilly2006A, April 2004

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Thanks to this well-written autobiography by Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, who was the slave himself, this was used to serve as a historical document and as anti-slavery propaganda in many important discussions and debates of slavery. Frederick Douglass was the first slave to write a book about the life of a slave. He was a pioneer trying to use his great intelligence to show the world what his life and the life of his fellow slaves was truly like. Historically the book served as a basis on what happened to slaves and the life they lived in the 1800's. The book described how the slaves were treated, how the masters ruled, how they thought according to Frederick Douglass. It informed the United States on life in the south of a plantation slave and master, and the thoughts of many slaves of that time. The book also served a great purpose in an important time, antebellum, as anti-slavery propaganda.

It depicted how brutal slave life truly was, showed how masters manipulated the slaves, and gave a great example of anti-slavery. In Douglass's words slave owners figured that if slaves learned to read they would be dangerous. Douglass learned to read, and he was not a violent person to anyone, never threatening a soul. This proved that the masters' views were wrong, that the slaves could be taught if given a chance and would still be as normal as any white person; another example of how the masters manipulated not only the slaves but also the people of America, telling them slaves would become violent if taught. He risked his life just to live in the north; this shows how much slavery drove him and others to risk it all to get away from the evil brutality...