Having read Douglass’s speech, I believe he is pointing out the hypocrisy of America and Independence Day. He discusses how America celebrates the independence it gained from England yet continues to put down black people and take away the freedom of black people. According to Frederick Douglass, “Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? That he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it”(Page 9). The quote shows Douglass questioning why he needs to convince people everyone is entitled to freedom if people already agree with the sentiment. This quote helps Douglass because he is able to point out how many Americans believe liberty should be someone’s right, yet continues to own slaves, which stands against such a belief. In his speech, Frederick Douglass also adds, “To [the black man], your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license…”(Page 10). As we can see in this quote, Douglass is explaining how black people feel Independence Day is a sham since it celebrates freedom, yet not everyone is free. This quote helps Douglass with his argument because it allows Americans to see things through the perspective of the people they oppress and see how there is unequal treatment towards people.
Professor: Jessica Penner
Class Meetings & Times: in person Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4 – 5:15 PM in Namm 403
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12 – 1:30 PM. I’ll be available through Zoom and will send an invitation via email that you should keep all semester. Try to join my meeting at the start of the hour, not at the end—since I may be talking to other students or have another appointment after the hour is up. If those times don’t work with your schedule, we can schedule a different time. This means you’ll have to schedule an appointment in advance via email. I suggest you have multiple times in mind, since your schedule may not mesh with mine!
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