Fredrick Douglass: America Is Not Irredeemable

Where Douglass may have raised a few eyebrows was in his conclusion where he challenged the common northern abolitionist belief that the U.S. Constitution itself was pro-slavery and should be discarded. When Douglass initially escaped slavery, he had accepted this view, but upon reading and studying the Constitution for himself, he came to a different opinion…

…Douglass was challenging not only the white racists of his day, but also the “enlightened” white abolitionists who thought America was irredeemable and wanted to throw away its founding documents.

Dean Nelson, “Remembering Frederick Douglass’ Great Fourth of July Speech in Context” (July 3, 2020) (HT: Lisa Spencer).

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  1. Frederick Douglass’s writings should be a “must read” for those who want to understand the Abolition Movement of the 19th Century. Contrary to modern revisionism, the Abolition Movement was not equalitarian. Douglass had a very uneasy relationship with Northerners, including Lincoln.

  2. Douglass does not cite the exact Supreme Court case which he refers to but I am assuming that he is referring to the following, “The Civil Rights Cases.” Oyez, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020. In this case it appears that the 14th amendment is overturned by the Supreme Court.

    “Fellow-citizens! Among the great evils which now stalk abroad in our land, the one, I think, which most threatens to undermine and destroy the foundations of our free institutions in this country is the great and apparently increasing want of respect entertained for those to whom are committed the responsibility and the duty of administering our government. On this point I think all good men must agree, and against the evil I trust you feel the deepest repugnance, and that we will, neither here nor elsewhere, give it the least breath of sympathy or encouragement. We should never forget, whatever may be the incidental mistakes or misconduct of rulers, that government is better than anarchy, and that patient reform is better than violent revolution.” – Frederick Douglass, cited March, 20, 2020. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, p. 216/656* , cited March 3, 2020
    * pdf page/book page

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