After listening and reading to Frederick Douglass’s speech, I believe Douglass is arguing about the hypocrisy of the Fourth of July and how it is unfair that Americans are celebrating freedom and independence, meanwhile they themselves are stripping Black people of their independence. Douglass brings up several examples to back up his statement.
Quote 1: “The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man, (no matter how ignorant he be,) subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment.”
Paraphrase: Douglass mentions the difference in punishment severity for both white and black men, where more than seventy crimes committed by a black man would have him killed, where as for a white man, he can commit several crimes and only be killed for two. You see the drastic difference for how easily a black man can be punished and killed.
Response: Douglass speaks with power and knowledge, constantly having sources to strengthen his words and keep everything he says honest and truthful. For example, in the quote, he mentions “The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government.” He says this to emphasize the difference in treatment between a black man and white man, following his words by mentioning how there are more crimes that can kill a black man, meanwhile a white man only has to worry about two crimes that can kill him. The severity of a punishment for a black man is much more than a white man and you can clearly see the difference when Douglass mentions this.
Quote 2: “Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn!”
Paraphrase: Douglass mentions a visual image of people suffering, a woman with a child, crying and in pain, and a child, crying as well after being taken away from her mother. He is trying to pull at emotions with simple images, knowing that these images have a great effect on others.
Response: Douglas is using imagery in his speech, hoping to pull at the heart strings of others by using detailed words to describe people in pain so that the audience can create a visual image in their mind and be more prone to see his point of view. He is using a smart strategy, using both emotions and visuals to get his point across.