Quote 1

“I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.—The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mineYou may rejoice, must mourn.” (Douglass, p.7-8)

Paraphrase 1

Douglass brings to light the inequalities between whites and blacks that juxtapose American independence. Douglass argues that their celebration of freedom only adds further distance between the two races because as one man celebrate his own freedom he restricts the freedom of another. Douglass yet again reminds his predominantly white audience that he does not share the same excitement to celebrate stating he has nothing to celebrate for, because unlike his white contemporaries he does not share the “rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence.”

Response 1

Douglass is no doubt, an extremely gifted writer. the way in which he talks about Fourth of July is as if it was a physical possession or title. For instance in the last line of the quote he states “this Fourth July is yours, not mineYou may rejoice, must mourn.” He make it profoundly clear to the audience why he can’t celebrate alongside his fellow countrymen by using clever word play. If we commit our preconceptions of what Fourth of July might be one could easily come to an inference that Douglass is talking about something along the lines of a family fortune. And one couldn’t be closer to the truth, the problem Douglass brings to light is that basic human rights like justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence were treated like family fortunes only to be inherited.

Quote 2

“AMERICAN SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave’s point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery—the great sin and shame of America!”(Douglass, p.8)

Paraphrase 2

Douglass begins by professing that he is looking through the eyes of a slave and thus goes on to make some weighted remarks on the celebration of this nation’s independence and this nation itself. He concludes that this Nation is beyond malice and evil in conduct especially on a day like 4th of July . He further condemns the declarations of the past and present that allowed for the beginning and extended continuation of slavery. Douglass finally concludes the quote denouncing everything that serves to perpetuate slavery, and identifies slavery as the nation’s worst sin.

Response 2

I think it’s interesting how Douglass begins by telling his majority white audience that “in the slave’s view point” almost as if he is trying to make them step into the shoes of slaves and empathize with them. If this was effective, it would be an effective appeal to emotion helping to further solidify his following points. The following points actually are just short of a compendium of condemnations against the nation itself. I think the rest fo the quote Douglass translates his raw emotion into words rather than attempting to appeal to ethics or logic. Just hot blooded well deserved raw emotion and anger.