Frederick Douglass 4th Of July Speech Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July a Rhetorical Analysis

1100 WordsJul 24th, 20125 Pages

In his speech, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?, Frederick Douglass passionately argues that to the slave, and even to the freed African American, the Fourth of July is no more than a mockery of the grossest kind. Douglas uses many rhetorical strategies to convey his powerful emotions on the subject, and the end result is a very effectively argued point. Douglass begins by asking a series of rhetorical questions, not without the use of sarcasm. He refers to "that" Declaration of Independence, instead of "the" Declaration of Independence, to stress the separation between his people and those who are not oppressed. In the next paragraph, he continues to ask rhetorical questions. The purpose of all these questions is to give…show more content…

He almost rubs it in their faces: that their proclaimed aspirations have not been tended to with the proper amount of effort and attention, and that all that has been put forth up to that point has failed miserably. The above quotation is comparable to saying "start trying or go home". The fact that he speaks so harshly to this particular audience only shows how passionately he feels for his own people. Back to the first page, Douglass makes a reference to the Bible. He applies his own situation to that of the one described by the quote. He is the one who can not forget about his people. He can not express joy, when his people express their pains. His argument is proved multiple times with the simple logic presented in his speech. It can be summed up with this: (1) This holiday is to rejoice for the sake of freedom and liberty. (2) My people have no freedom, have no liberty. (3) You rejoice. (4) My people mourn. (5) This holiday is a mockery to us. The reference to the mockery of it all is made over and over again, and with such a simply logical statement, one can not possibly argue it's validity. Douglass moves on to speak of the wrongs committed by America, and how they have piled sky-high to the point of no return. He states that any just man who is not prejudice shall see that his words are of truth. He speaks of the Constitution, he speaks of the Bible, and he speaks of God. With such credited references backing up his argument, it would

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"What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?" Analysis Of Frederick Douglass's Speech, How Did He Construct His Argument And Did He Argue Effectively

In his speech, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?, Frederick Douglass passionately argues that to the slave, and even to the freed African American, the Fourth of July is no more than a mockery of the grossest kind. Douglas uses many rhetorical strategies to convey his powerful emotions on the subject, and the end result is a very effectively argued point.

Douglass begins by asking a series of rhetorical questions, not without the use of sarcasm. He refers to "that" Declaration of Independence, instead of "the" Declaration of Independence, to stress the separation between his people and those who are not oppressed. In the next paragraph, he continues to ask rhetorical questions. The purpose of all these questions is to give the audience the perspective that what is suggested is not truly so. He did not choose to give a speech on the holiday that his people are reminded of the injustice forced upon them in order to express gratitude and joy for the independence of America, because he does not share in any of that joy, because he does not share in any of that independence. The third paragraph is where the line is visibly drawn for the audience. No more rhetorical questions at this point. The truth is laid out; the separation is made clear. Douglass prolifically uses the terms "you" and "me", "us" and "them", to stress the fact that this holiday is of a double-meaning, and for his people it is a day of mourning, while for the rest of them, it is a day of blind joy. In the text, such words are italicized, meaning that while he gave the speech, he made sure to put emphasis on these words in a way that would be comparable to squeezing the pressure points of his audience (you). An interesting point can be brought up at this moment: his immediate audience during the delivery of this speech in July of 1852 was comprised of white abolitionists. Meaning, he was addressing the people that were technically on his side, so to speak. Douglass calls for them to "argue more and denounce less... persuade more and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed"(pg.2). He almost rubs it in their faces: that their proclaimed aspirations have not been tended to with the proper amount of effort and attention, and that all that has been put forth up to that point has failed miserably. The above quotation is comparable to saying "start trying or go home". The fact that he speaks so harshly to this particular audience only shows how passionately he feels for his own people.

Back to the first page, Douglass makes a reference to the Bible. He applies his own situation to that of the one described by the quote. He is the one who can not forget...

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