Frederick Douglass: “Fourth of July” Speech

(1852)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

In the introductory section of his “Fourth of July” Speech, Douglass establishes a tone of humility, expressing his gratitude to the event's organizers for deeming him worthy of addressing American independence. Here he juxtaposes himself as a former slave with those in the audience who he deems the true beneficiaries of the Declaration of Independence. He notes the considerable distance between “this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped.” He further reveals humility by discounting the amount of preparation put into the...

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Frederick Douglass (Library of Congress)

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