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The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass was born into slavery, in Maryland. After his escape, he was determined to expose the cruel reality of slavery to the public. Douglas's first autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas is considered a primary source, making it extremely dependable. During the early 1800s-1840, when these events took place, slavery was abundant in the United States. While slavery was still a large conflict in the nation, the North was slowly working toward abolition. Slaves were not only abused, but neglected as well. Slave owners never educated their slaves, in fear that this would encourage them to think for themselves and rebel. They believed that a slave should not have feelings, or express their emotions in any way. Slaves were not allowed to voice their thoughts or opinions, if accused of something, they had no choice but to go along with it. This strategy of dehumanization was common among slave owners.

Slaves rarely knew who their parents were, or anything about their past lives. Frederick explains to us that he, along with most of the slave population, has little to no knowledge of their birth. Frederick tells us of his little knowledge of his past, causing discomfort due to curiosity. "By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters to keep their slaves thus ignorant"- (19). Douglas emphasizes the dehumanization of African Americans by denying them knowledge of their past, this technique makes them feel as though they have no identity. Without a strong feeling of personal identity, African Americans were easily broken into any setting, without complaint. They felt as if that is what they were born to do, they knew of no other way of life, freedom wasn't even considered for the slaves properly dehumanized by their owners.

During this time period, anybody was trusted over an African American. If accused of something, true or not, a slave had no choice but to take the punishment. Frederick was often whipped and brutally beaten for little to no reason. Once again, slaves didn't know this treatment was wrong or bad, for they have never experienced anything else. Mr. Gore was Frederick's overseer, and was known for his cruel punishments. Douglas was brutally whipped and wounded by Mr. Gore many times. The slaves on the plantation feared Mr. Gore due to his false accusations and severe punishments. "No matter how innocent a slave might be, it availed him nothing, when accused by Mr. Gore of any misdemeanor"- (37). Douglas signifies the dehumanization of slaves by exemplifying how little affect their voices had on the public. Slaves were treated as animals, in such that they did not have the ability to speak or voice their opinions. They were not considered real people to the majority of the population, therefore they never voiced their opinions, and when a slave did speak out of turn, he



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