What is Douglass's opinion of the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence in "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July"? Explain.

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I believe the best way to characterize Douglass’s attitude toward the Founding Fathers would be one of cautious approbation. Early in his speech, he refers to the Fathers as “great men,” and he is overwhelmingly respectful of the high repute, love, and peace they brought to their country. Early on, he remarks that he “cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration,” and Douglass venerates their willingness to sacrifice their own political freedom and personal safety against the oppression of British tyranny. Though analyses of Douglass often tend to overemphasize his opposition to slavery and the contradictory nature of the freedoms granted by the Constitution, one should nevertheless not discount his respect for the statesmen of the past, whom he deeply admired.

However, in ruminating on the hopefulness of the past, Douglass is much more critical of the injustices he witnessed in his own day. This particular speech was published in 1852, nine years before the...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 1094 words.)

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