What Frederick Douglass Teaches Us About American Exceptionalism and the Growth of Freedom

Nick Gillespie
Reason Magazine

I don’t think there’s a greater Fourth of July speech than Frederick Douglass’ 1852 address, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?“…

…In pre-abolition America, Douglass was of course specifically addressing slavery, a national original sin so monstrous that he notes its justification is elided in the founding document of the United States. The Constitution is a “glorious liberty document,” he notes. But “if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument,” Douglass asks rhetorically, “why [is] neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave…anywhere…found in it”?

Yet for the all fury that courses through Douglass’ lecture, he “do[es] not despair of this country.”…

…I think what resonates to this day is that Douglass was able to place America not simply in an international context but also to recognize that embracing freedom and liberty is a process that will continue to unfold and expand (or contract) over time.

The United States has much to be ashamed of as a nation and much to celebrate. But as we hurtle through history, what we need more than anything is a compass by which to chart future actions. Douglass’ life and writings help provide that in a way few other examples can.

Read the complete article at Reason.com

Related: On the other hand, we have Chris Rock who has never a been slave, to our knowledge, and is not much of a thinker, either, especially when held in juxtaposition to Frederick Douglas:

click on the image to enlarge

H/T Weasel Zippers

UpdateGet Over It Already!

Actors Chris Rock and Don Cheadle continued to perpetrate racial animosity with their inane Independence Day tweets implying that the holiday was meant only for whites.

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