What consequences does slavery have on white people in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass?
A major theme in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is the idea that slavery is an unnatural institution. In framing this argument, Douglass argues that the institution of slavery is not only detrimental to the slave but also harms white society. Douglass constructs this argument on the premise that slavery erodes the moral fabric of white society. This corruption has the potential to have negative social effects on America including the devolution of Christianity and the destruction of the American family.
It is important to realize that Frederick Douglass taught slaves about the Holy Bible and was well versed in scripture. Douglass believes that whites accommodate the sin of slavery by corrupting their own religious doctrine. They find obscure passages in the scriptures for use as justification for their sins. The narrative describes the difference between true Christianity and the American version in which a new religion has been created altogether.
Douglass also explains how the temptations created by slavery lead to the breakup of the family. The rape and adultery committed by white slaveholders is an abomination not only on the slave family but also on the white family. Children are created by these sins which creates the awkward situation of a planter actually owning their child as a slave or being forced to sell their child to another plantation. In this way, slavery is a corruption of the white and black familial institution.