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Frederick Douglass Essay, Research Paper

Frederick Douglass

On an unknown date in 1817, on a slave plantation in Tuckahoe Maryland,

Frederick August Washington Bailey was born. Frederick was raised in a house on

the plantation with all the other slave children. At the age of seven, like

many other slaves, Frederick was put to work in the fields. As a young child he

would wonder why he was a slave, and why everyone can’t be equal. His thoughts

frequently came back to him, leaving him with a great hatred for slavery. In

1836, Frederick had finally had enough of his imprisonment, and attempted an

escape with many other slaves. The escape was not successful, Frederick and the

other slaves were sent to work in a shipyard hauling crates. Frederick worked

the shipyard for two years until he had another great escape idea, this one

would work though. The sailing papers of a sailor had been borrowed, and

disguised as a sailor, Frederick Douglass made his escape to New Bedford,

Massachusetts. Upon his arrival, Frederick took up his new assumed last name

Douglass, to escape being captured. In 1841, Frederick attended an anti-slavery

convention in Nantucket Massachusetts. Here, his impromptu speech he gave

showed him to be a great speaker. The opponents of Frederick believed that he

was never a slave, because of his great speaking skills and knowledge. In

response to this, Frederick wrote his life story in his book _Life and Times of

Frederick Douglass_. Frederick made a fatal mistake though, he had used the name

of his old master on the slave plantation. Upon learning of this, his old master

sent slave catchers to New England to bring him back. Fearing a life of slavery

again, Frederick fled to England. Here in England, he gave many lectures on the

abolitionists movement, and earned sufficient funds to buy his freedom in

America. In 1847, Frederick became the “station master” of the Underground

Railroad in Rochester, New York. Here he also began publishing his anti-slavery

newspaper, The North Star. During these publishing years, Frederick became good

friends with John Brown. John had a vision of training groups of men to help

slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. However, in 1859, Douglass learned

it was Brown’s intention to raid the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. He was

sure this would bring disastrous results, and took no part in the raid.

Following the raid, Douglass fled to Europe, fearing the government would hold

him responsible for what had happened. He stayed for six months, until finally

returning to America to campaign for Abraham Lincoln during the Presidential

election of 1860. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Frederick helped raise the

regiment of the Massachusetts 54th. This group of soldiers fought hard, and

Douglass was respected as a leader of ex-slaves. Frederick soon fought for the

13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments for the U.S. Constitution, which gave rights to

everyone. He became U.S marshal for the District of Columbia (1877-81),

recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia (1881-86) and U.S. minister to

the Republic of Haiti (1889-91). After his death in 1895, people mourned the

loss of one of the great freedom fighters of the 1800’s.

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