Frederick Douglass Questions and Answers

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How does Douglass portray slaveholders?

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Douglass illustrates that it doesn't matter if slaveowners are good or bad people, because the institution of slavery corrupts all the owners. They simply have too much power and the slaves too little. He also says that the owners not unreasonably fear the slaves will rebel against such an unfair situation. The masters believe they must use fear and cruelty to keep the slaves abject.

He talks about his horror as a young boy at seeing a female slave stripped to the waist and beaten until blood ran down her back by her master for disobeying him. In another instance, he answers charges that slaves, when asked, will say they are happy with their lot. He tells the story of a slave who had never seen his master because the plantation was so large and so many slaves worked the fields. When he was approached by a white man and asked if he were happy, he told the truth about the misery of his condition. The slave later found out that the man was his master. This slave was very openly used as an...

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