This paper attempts to reintroduce the abolitionist Frederick Douglass who played a large role in ending slavery in the United States just before the Civil War. It also intends to answer the question, “What does Frederick Douglass have to say about the consequences of slavery for Americans, black and white, North and South?”

Who is Frederick Douglass?

Frederick Douglass was responsible for the abolitionist movement, which actually put an end to slavery which has been occurring in the United States just before the Civil War (Frederick Douglass n.p.). What does Frederick Douglass have to say about the consequences of slavery for Americans, black and white, North and South?

Change of Name

The fact that he found out that “southern slave catchers were roaming the city looking for fugitives in boarding houses that accepted blacks”, his initial reaction to this was not to trust anybody he would meet along the way as he journeys through his life (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). However, as he came looking for a job and a shelter, he met David Ruggles, “who actually harbors runaway slaves and assisted them reach safe locations in the United States, as well as, Canada” (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). He also altered his name to avoid being arrested (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). He changed it from Frederick Baily to Frederick Douglass (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.).

Subscriber of Liberator

At first though, his reaction was not that obvious since he “worked as a common laborer” wherein “he sawed wood, shoveled coal, dug cellars, as well as, loaded and unloaded ships”  (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). However, when he was offered to subscribe to a newspaper called “Liberator”, which was “edited by the articulate leader of the American Anti-Slavery Society, named William Garrison”, he also “felt really sorry” for the slaves (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.).

Membership to the American Anti-Slavery Society

After that, he joined the abolitionist movement wherein he attended “lectures in New Bedford” (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). He became an official member of the “American Anti-Slavery Society”, which in turn was instituted in 1833 (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.).

Articulation of Thoughts by Preaching

Because the, black abolitionists were having difficulty articulating their points of view, “black leaders kept up a constant battle to reduce racial prejudice in the North” (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). Also because of that, he decided to articulate some of his thoughts by becoming a preacher at the “black Zion Methodist Church” (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). He negated “attempts by white southerners to oblige blacks to leave and proceed to Africa” (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.).  This only shows how Frederick Douglass disagrees to “African colonization schemes” (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.).

Issuance of Statements in the Liberator

In turn, Frederick Douglass’ opposition to “African colonization schemes” led him to issue “anti-colonization statements in the Liberator” (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.). He did this by: 1) convincing other individuals to subscribe to the “Liberator”, as well as, another newspaper technically referred to as the “Anti-Slavery Standard”; and 2) continuing to lecture nationwide about his life and his thoughts about slavery (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.).

His lectures or speeches entail his personal experiences, for instance about, atrocious whippings set by “slave-owners to women, children, and elderly people”; “head of girl covered with festering sores”; “masters ‘breeding’ their female slaves”; “ clergymen warning slaves that they would be offending God if they disobeyed their masters”; etc (From Slave to Abolitionist/Editor n.p.).

Religion and Economic Status of Whites

In addition to the aforementioned, he was so determined to “show how and why the institution of slavery works”, which in turn revealed its rough treatment and unfairness (Douglass n.p.). For Frederick Douglass, slavery is not “normal”, as opposed to the views of most people wherein religion and economic status has proven that whites should treat blacks as slaves (Douglass n.p.).

Informing Through Writing

Also, he exposed the evilness of slavery by writing to eventually inform the “white audience” with regards to the occurrence in the slave plantations including brutal and corrupt behaviors (Douglass n.p.). He wrote about effects or consequences of slavery including: 1) “slave owners impregnating their slaves”; 2) raping of Black women; 3) unfortunate fate of the slave’s children; 4) dehumanization of both slave owners and slaves; 4) physical effect/s – lash wounds; 5) emotional effects – the pain of knowing that you are unable to put an end to the situation (Douglass n.p.).


For Frederick Douglass, the aforementioned consequences should be kept away from him (Penguin Group USA n.p.). The women who have undergone slavery or abuse that he wrote about were imageries for the purpose of safely keeping Frederick Douglass “himself from the dehumanized and demeaned body of the slave” (Penguin Group USA n.p.). This is why Frederick Douglass has to say all that about the consequences of slavery for Americans, black and white, North and South (Penguin Group USA n.p.). This is why he directly stated that slavery leads to abuses including, for instance, the: “stripping and whipping of a woman; beating of slaves; etc” (Penguin Group USA n.p.).


Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. 2006. SparkNotes LLC.

16 November 2007

Frederick Douglass. n.d. n.a. 16 November 2007

From Slavery to Abolitionist/Editor. n.d. n.a. 16 November 2007

Penguin Group USA. Book Clubs/Reading Guide. 2007. n.a. 16 November 2007