Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself Historical Context

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In the mid-nineteenth century, when Douglass wrote the Narrative, the United States was becoming divided over the issue of slavery. In the North, a growing abolitionist movement that had started in the late eighteenth century began to gather momentum as its leaders made every effort to spread their antislavery message. They held meetings, gave lectures, published antislavery newspapers, and traveled across the country to spread their message. Meanwhile, in the South, slaveholders rigidly held on to their view that slaves were useful only as laborers that helped sustain their agricultural economy. White people, in both the North and the South, continued to treat slaves as inferior beings, in most cases denying them any legal protection.

However, as more slaves found their way to freedom in the North, either through the assistance of the Underground Railroad or their own inventive methods, they began to write of their experiences under...

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This section contains 794 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself Study Guide
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