This essay Frederic Douglass has a total of 1321 words and 5 pages.
The United States of America is a country that was founded on the basic principles of freedom and liberty. This often leaves it with a reputation as a land full of hope, where anything is possible as long as one is willing to work hard for it. Unfortunately, this idea is not always true. Frederick Douglas, who was born a slave, did not have the privelege of this aforementioned freedom, liberty, and social mobility. Even though he was an exceptionally bright man, he was enslaved and persecuted because of his skin color. His life represents both the failure and success of the American dream, with the failure being the extremely more dominant, because of the color of his skin.
The most fundemental of aspect of the American dream is that of freedom and liberty. Relative to other countries, America was going above and beyond the call of duty to give its citizens these freedoms and rights. The country was founded with a main focus on freedom from Tyranny. This is shown by the following excerpt from the Declaration of Independence: "The history of the present King of Great Britian is a history of repeated injuries and ununsurpations, all having direct object the establishment of Tyranny over these states." When the Constitution was written the first ten amendments were a bill of rights. The amendement the was most powerful was the ninth. "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." This amendment means that any rights that were not mentioned in the constitution are still held by the people. This includes any god given rights that all human beings are given. All of these rights to freedom and liberty that are clearly spelled out hold a lot of weight in the American Dream. This leads to the first reason why Frederick Douglass's life represented the failure of the American dream.
Being born a free man is no doubt a god given right. And in a country that goes to great troubles to make sure each specific right is spelled out, it would seem obvious that the freedom to belong to yourself was one of those rights. This is why it is so outlandish and hipocrtitical that slavery existed in America. Frederick Douglas was born a slave and shipped around the country just as a piece of property. From the time he was a young boy he had a notion of what being free was and that that is what he should be, even though all he was seeing was the ownership of his people. (Quote where he says he felt freedom) Feeling this yearnig from freedom at such a young age shows that being free was a god given right or "Law of nature", as Jefferson so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence. With all of this is mind it is very clear Douglass being born in to slavery was a deifinite failure of the American Dream.
In the Declaration of Independence one of the most famous portions goes as follows: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed to certain unailiable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This pursuit of happiness is a very important part of the American dream, for it is the result of all the rights that were layed out. By being alloted these rights a person is free to pursue happiness in their life, whatever happiness may be to them.
It is very ironic that when Douglass finally got his first taste of freedom he had to be deceptive in sneaking away from his owner, just as the writers of the constution were deceptive in their defintion of "man". Once Douglass escaped from slavery he was surprised to find that the north also a very racist place. Not only did the majority of northern whites still feel that blacks were inferiour, New York was full of people looking to turn in fugitive slaves. Frederick also found that his abolitionist friends were not free from this prejudice. At gatherings they often asked Frederick to tell the same stories about when he was a slave, instead of letting him express opinions and philosphies on slavery. Some even went so far as to tell Frederick to talk more like a slave so the audience
Topics Related to Frederic Douglass
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