By Waldo E. Martin
Frederick Douglass used to be certainly the key black American of the 19th century. the intense lifetime of this former slave grew to become abolitionist orator, newspaper editor, social reformer, race chief, and Republican social gathering recommend has encouraged many biographies through the years. This, despite the fact that, is the 1st full-scale research of the origins, contours, improvement, and importance of Douglass's thought.
Brilliant and to a wide measure self-taught, Douglass personified highbrow activism; he possessed a honest situation for the makes use of and effects of principles. either his people's fight for liberation and his person stories, which he predicted as symbolizing that fight, supplied the root and constitution for his highbrow maturation. As a consultant American, he internalized and, hence, mirrored significant currents within the modern American brain. As a consultant Afro-American, he published in his considering the deep-seated impact of race on Euro-American, Afro-American, or, commonly conceived, American attention. He sought to solve in his pondering the dynamic stress among his identities as a black and as an American.
Martin assesses not just how Douglass handled this enduring clash, but additionally the level of his luck. An inveterate trust in a common and egalitarian humanism unified Douglass's notion. This grand organizing precept mirrored his highbrow roots within the 3 significant traditions of mid-nineteenth-century American proposal: Protestant Christianity, the Enlightenment, and romanticism. jointly, those affects buttressed his attribute optimism.
Although nineteenth-century Afro-American highbrow historical past derived its important premises and outlook from concurrent American highbrow background, it provided a looking out critique of the latter and its ramifications. easy methods to sq. America's rhetoric of freedom, equality, and justice with the truth of slavery and racial prejudice used to be the trouble that faced such Afro-American thinkers as Douglass.
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Extra resources for The Mind of Frederick Douglass
5 Douglass read the Liberator religiously, and he heartily accepted its philosophy of abolitionism. He not only thought deeply about the tenets of Garrisonian abolitionism, but he also began to attend nearby antislavery meetings among Negroes. These included fortnightly meetings at the home of John Baily, black friend and abolitionist colleague, to discuss antislavery principles and activities, and larger, more formal gatherings. On 12 March 1839 at a Negro antislavery meeting in the Christian Church of New Bedford, Douglass supported the resolutions blasting slavery and African colonization and praising Garrison.
48 National responsibility for slavery, however, meant that national action had to be taken to abolish it. The free states had to promote emancipation actively, if it was to be realized. 49 Predictably, Douglass’s complete somersault on the constitutional and political action issues angered his Garrisonian colleagues. “It needs no ghost to assure me,” he wrote to Smith, “that I am to be made for a time an object of Abolitionism 39 special attack. ” Nevertheless, the actual attacks greatly upset him.
Speaking at Market Hall in Syracuse on 24 September 1847, he echoed the standard Garrisonian constitutional and political position. 33 There was, however, a vital difference between Douglass’s constitutional and political views and those of orthodox Garrisonians. This difference foreshadowed his impending break with them. Unlike orthodox Garrisonians, Douglass did not embrace the corollary Garrisonian position that all action which might be construed as supporting a proslavery constitution must be Abolitionism 33 rejected.