Carolina Gutierrez English 001A Mrs. Bronstein 7 October 2015 America’svSlaves: How Slavery Ruined a Nation’s Morality In the autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , by Frederick Douglass, an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, the political issue of slavery is explored in hopes of furthering the abolition movement by exposing the immoralities and injustices through first hand experiences. Frederick Douglass was a born-slave who once believed his life as a slave was “normal” because it was all he had known. According to David M Rubenstein, a professor of anthropology at Duke University, “Slaves were generally prohibited from learning to read and/or write, often with severe consequences threatened.” (Rubenstein, “Slave Letters”). Within the secret collection of letters collected by Rubenstein, more examples of the immoralities are expressed, some of which relate deeply to that of Frederick Douglas. As Douglass learned to read despite the prohibitions, Mrs. Auld’s peers had taken notice, in return scolding Mrs. Auld. This had led Douglass to understand what the impact of his position as a slave had on the slaves, as well as the slave owners. Slavery is the political issue raised in this text, but the text digs deeper into what it is about slavery that makes people so evil. Douglas’ hoped that through his writing, one may be able to understand the spiritual change it had on one’s morality and justice. With Douglass’ experience, he noted that someone so nice to him, in this case, Mrs. Auld, who once had a “cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face
gave place to that of a demon” (Douglass 330). Mrs. Auld was the one to teach Douglass how to read and write, but while doing so, was not aware of the customs within the slave owners. In this case, educating the slaves was considered wrong because it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a slave to read. Mrs. Auld was then punished for her act, causing her to change as a person in order to please her peers. Her morality was ruined by fellow slave owners who let the power of slavery get to their heads. This forever changed
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