In My Bondage and My Freedom the thesis is more implied throughout the piece since it's an autobiography.his mother was a Negro slave and his father was reputed to be his white master. He would eventually develop into a towering figure for the U. Civil Rights Movement, and his legacy would be claimed by a diverse span of groups, from liberals and integrationists to conservatives to nationalists, within and without black America.As a witness and participant of the second Great Awakening, he took seriously the politicized rhetoric of Christian liberation from sin, and, as with other abolitionists, saw it intrinsically wrapped up with liberation from slavery, and indeed national liberation.
To defend slavery, some of its apologists drew on the idea of historical progress to offer the defense that slavery was a benevolent and paternal system for the mutual benefit of whites and blacks.
Douglass countered by drawing on his experiences, and the experiences of other slaves, that American slavery was in no way benevolent.
In his Fourth of July Address, he derides the very idea that he would even need to argue this point (1852b).
Against the claim that blacks were beasts, he argued that rather slavery had brutalized them.
Douglass’s life, from slavery to statesman, his writings and speeches, and his national and international work have inspired many lines of discussion in debate within the fields of American and African American history, political science and theory, sociology, and in philosophy.
His legacy is claimed, despite his links to ideas of cultural and racial assimilationism, by black Nationalists as well as by black liberals and black conservatives. Kirkland (1999), is a valuable guide to lines of inquiry about Douglass, and the debates he inspired, within philosophy in the United States.He pointed to the obviousness of the humanity of blacks, and to the hypocrisy of the apologists for slavery in America on this question: why should there be special laws prohibiting the free actions of blacks, such as rebelling against the master or any other white person, if slaves were bestial and incapable of independent, responsible behavior?Why, indeed, had slave masters encouraged their slaves' Christianization, and then forbade their religious gatherings?It brutalized blacks, subjecting them to debilitating, murderous violence; to rape; to the splitting up of families (another crime against nature); to denying them education and self-improvement; and to the exploitation of their labor and denying them access to their natural right to property.Black slaves were not happy Sambos benefiting from the largesse of kind, gentile white masters—they were brutalized against all justice and reason. Lawson’s (1992), is an indispensable source for philosophical analyses of these arguments, and the engagement of normative philosophy with historical and sociological theories of U. slavery, and Nicholas Buccola’s (2012), provides an excellent analysis of how Douglass’s critical examination of slavery fits into his liberalism and dominant conceptions of liberty of his time.Along with this hypocrisy, American slaveholders feared and banned the education of blacks, while demanding and profiting from their learning and development in the skilled trades.Thus, Douglass argued the accusation that blacks were beasts was predicated on the guilty knowledge that they were humans.Fifth, drawing on the ideas of manifest destiny, as well as the idea of natural law realized in historical progress, he argued that slavery was inconsistent with development: moral, political, economic, social, and ultimately historical.America was on the wrong side of history on the question of slavery.His rebellion against slavery began, as he recounted, while he was a slave.In his narratives, this depiction of early recognition, and general recognition among blacks and some whites, of the injustice, unnaturalness, and cruelty of slavery is a major element of his argument. Some of the apologists for slavery claimed that blacks were beasts, subhuman, or at least a degenerated form of the human species.