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I think that Douglass understands the importance of writing a primary source document about the condition of slavery. Douglass writes his work with the understanding that there is about half a nation worth of people who believe in the institution of slavery. He is not writing for them. Rather, he is writing for the other half of the people in the nation who either are antislavery or believe slavery to be an issue that is irrelevant to their own lives. Douglass's writing is enlightening because it does not relent on depicting the horrors of slavery. Douglass recognizes the particular time period in which he is writing is one in which the issue of slavery is growing in national political importance. His first hand and direct account is enlightening because he is forcing the issue to be confronted. At a time when so many had sought to resolve the issue through compromise and political negotiation, Douglass enlightens in his suggestion that the terror and horrific nature of slavery cannot be negotiated away. Either one stands against it or accepts it. Douglass enlightens in the direct and intense manner in which he writes, compelling the reader both of the time period and outside of it to understand that the issue of slavery is one that must be addressed through what he considers to be an abolitionist stance.
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