Effective Rhetorical Strategies of Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, both are notable figures of speaking for African- American and women’s rights. Douglass was born a slave, who had taught himself how to read and write, after the wife of his owner stopped giving him reading lessons. He eventually managed to escape slavery, and moved on to become an abolitionist, an amazing orator, and during the Civil War became a consultant to President Abraham Lincoln. Sojourner Truth was also born a slave but managed to escape to freedom. She too was an abolitionist, and she was an activist for women’s rights. Both gave speeches about being a slave, but when it came to who got the message through more effectively, Fredrick Douglass demonstrated a better use of rhetoric by manipulating words to appeal to emotions, and using the credible sources to get the reaction he wanted from his audience. Douglass was known for being a great orator, and having an extended vocabulary. In his famous speech of 1841 What to The Slave is The 4th of July, Douglass begins with formally addressing his audience with “Friends and Fellow citizens” (). He goes on to say that feels a bit nervous, but it was obvious that he was more upset if anything with having to speak. Douglass speaks good things about the founding fathers, and about the audience being able to celebrate their independence. Eventually, Douglass speaks about how even though they are celebrating their liberty, he must “mourn”(504). Douglass gets the audience to really think when he accuses them of trying to “mock” him, by having asked him to speak. He evokes a sense of guilt with his simple words. This is him showing good use of pathos.The audience is celebrating being free, but they have asked someone who has suffered because of slavery, to say something about freedom. They don’t realize that it is in some way insulting him. Sojourner Truth spoke
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