Rhetorical Analysis of Frederick Douglass’ Speech
The speech delivered by Frederick Douglass on the Fourth of July entitled the “"The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro" intrigues the thinking of many readers and scholars creating an atmosphere of the past in the present. He eloquently exposes the hypocrisy pavement in the American society in the then time and the present. Given the opportunity to deliver the search in the Declaration of Independence day, he used the opportunity to present his ideas and voice the concerns of the black people enslaved in slavery. The rebukes the institution of slavery that all the people knew was wrong but idolizes and promotes it, he says, “There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him” (Douglass, 1852). He presents the hypocrisy and the irony of the whites celebrates independence while the black mourn. He was bitter about the about the promotion of slavery and giving him, a Negro to deliver a speech on such a day which presented a democracy which was only to the whites, the black were denied liberty, equality and justice (Heath & Waymer, 2009). He clearly comes out as an abolitionist of slavery and an activist for equality among all citizens of America. He uses rhetorical elements to articulate his ideas.
In order to comprehend Douglass’ sentiments on the racial divisions and segregation, it is prudent to have a recap and look into the historical context of the time the speech was delivered. It shall enable and individual see understand the relevance of the speech during the time and the present. The speech was delivered in the era in which America was undertaking social reforms in the 1850s (Engell, 2013). One of the critical factors in the reform was the justification on whether to abolish the institution of slavery or not. There was an enormous and antagonistic rift between the Southerners who promoted the...