Douglass and Abolitionism
Essay title: Douglass and Abolitionism
Douglass and Abolitionism
Imagine not knowing your birthday and working so hard everyday, with the possibility of being beaten lingering. Well that is how Frederick Douglass lived and how slavery was. His book shows how his life is slavery was against slavery are very well seen through the chapters of his story.
In the very first chapter of his story he makes a very big point about slavery. Slave owners keep slaves ignorant about how old they are and there birthdays, this was in order to take away there identities. If they took away there identities then they were not seen as equal humans. Douglass made this fact in the beginning just seem like it was normal and it was not a big deal, but this was because that’s how he grew up. Douglass is also very bitter due to the fact that his father was probably a white man. Douglass felt abandoned into a world of slavery.
Douglass also points out the fact that not only was there master-slave divisions in society, but also a hierarchy in the slave-owning class. With the hierarchy, it made even more tensions with slave owners and how they treated there slaves. If a slave owner wanted to start moving up in the hierarchy then they would buy more slaves and treat them more cruelly, so that they were seen as a more powerful person. The richer slave owners had more slaves and were able to rent out there slaves to other plantations, so they were looked at as being the more powerful slave owners. Also with the hierarchy, plantations in the South were seen as more productive and had a better standing in markets. So southern slave owners had higher standing then say the slave owners from the east central area. Do to the hierarchy slaves were led to believe in a false system of values, where certain tasks were considered more prestigious than others; however, all tasks performed by slaves should have been considered unacceptable.
Douglass points out; northerners did not have a clear understanding of what plantation life was like for slaves. They thought the singing on plantations was a sign of happiness and not of misery and pain. The singing of slaves was to lift the spirits and make them able to go through another day of pain. Many people who had never seen a plantation did not know the harsh conditions the slave owners put them under. During the part in Douglass’s novel where he lives at Colonel Lloyds’s plantation, is where we really start to see Douglass’s abolitionist views. Douglass criticizes the plantation because, it was seen as one of the best but, it would not have been seen that way if it were not for the slaves. Even though slaves kept up the plantation, they were not allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor. He also explains how slave owners would lay traps and watch the slaves just waiting for them to break the rules.
Repeatedly Douglass tells us of the slave owners’ value system. Not only did owners treat slaves like animals, but they usually value animals more than their slaves. So this fact constantly bothers Douglass. Douglass said that such a system which prized animals over humans was heinous. He also illustrates that slave owners ruled by example, they would kill another slave just to show the others what not to do. To Douglass this meant innocent lives were being killed just for the slave owners own gain.
At this point in the novel Douglas has just presented us with increasingly horrific facts about slavery, but he has just been seen as a narrator and has not really been very attached to the actions. This is on purpose. He has wanted to turn the reader to the Abolitionist side of things and I found that it worked. His examples lead you to seeing the horrible acts and not really to look