What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

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Submitted By silverwolf71190
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Why is Christianity so central to Douglass’ argument? Why does he make numerous references to the Bible?

Christianity is a religion based on values of love, respect, forgiveness, and understanding, and the Bible is the book from which those values are taught. Frederick Douglass, born into slavery, was a prominent figure in the fight to abolish slavery, and a great speech giver. In his speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass centrals his argument around Christianity to bring to light the sham under which his audience resides, and makes numerous references to the Bible to support his claim.

It has been, and still is to this day, said that the United States of America was built upon a foundation of Judeo-Christian values. In what feels to be increasingly heated words, Douglass speaks on behalf of the American slave, presenting to his audience the travesty they have made of the Christian faith. He explains that “American Christianity” is “to [the American slave], mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a this veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages” (Douglass 485). Through the use of harsh words, Douglass is hoping they will penetrate the souls of those listening, resulting in sorrow and guilt for allowing such a travesty to arise from a religion based on love and respect. Further into his speech, Douglass emphasizes on how the lives of his audience are a sham, and he feels he is helping them to do right by making them first feel guilt, and then understand why that is. Using references from the Bible, a book supposedly understood by those listening, Douglass puts into perspective their true identities. According to the Bible, his audiences are “scribes, Pharasees, hypocrites, who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (Douglass…...

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