Frederick Douglass Speaks on 4th of July

Commentaries on the Times

Frederick_Douglass_by_Samuel_J_Miller,_1847-52 (1)

 Douglass As he Looked when this Speech was made

 

What Does the 4th of July Mean to the American Slave?

Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles ofpolitical freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate…

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