Frederick Douglass: Brief Biography and Achievements

Frederick Douglass Definition

Any student entering “Frederick Douglass definition” in Google search gets access to hundreds of articles and books dedicated to this renowned activist and writer. Frederick Douglass is one of the most famous abolitionists of the 19th century. He was born as a slave but escaped at age twenty. Eventually, he became the influential black American leader (Garraty & Foner, 2014). Douglass managed to escape the poverty and deprivation and became a respected intellectual who advised politicians and whose arguments inspired and motivated thousands of his fellow thinkers. The man wrote several books based on his traumatic experience as a slave, and these books have become both his personal revelation and the powerful anti-slavery propaganda that fueled the abolitionist movement. This essay explores Frederick Douglass’ significance in American history.

So, what do sources tell about the activist when one searches for “Frederick Douglass definition” or “Frederick Douglass definition quizlet” in Google? The date of his birth is not known. It is believed that he was born circa 1818 in Maryland, but the details of his childhood are scarce. Some historians suggest that he was a son of a black slave and her white master, but no evidence is available to support this assumption (Garraty & Foner, 2014). Douglass recalled that he was treated like an animal. Frederick Douglass’ facts suggest that he suffered much. This traumatic childhood experience and his free spirit induced Douglass to escape and face numerous challenges only to live as a free man. Gradually, he learned more about the scale of the slavery problem and went to England where he educated people regarding the horrible treatment of black Americans in the United States (Washington, 2012). His lectures were extremely successful. People even helped him to collect money and buy his legal freedom. He returned to the USA as a free man and continued his activity there.

Frederick Douglass and Abolitionist Movement

Frederick Douglass’ definition of abolitionism was consistent with those offered by other scholars and intellectuals of his time. He believed that slaves should fight for their rights. He also encouraged them to believe in themselves. Even when white people degrade and oppress them, they should respect themselves and demand better treatment. The activist claimed he did not understand why everyone was talking about the “fruit of abolitionism” – a phrase used by pro-slavery authors to refer to violent actions against white masters (Garraty & Foner, 2014). Nat Turner’s definition of this term explains this idea. As a slave, this man led a large slave rebellion that resulted in state-wide violence and bloodshed (Gregson, 2003). Douglass, however, believed that abolitionism was something more than violence – it is the desire to live according to God’s Word and enjoy equal rights in everything.

Douglass’ views align with William Lloyd Garrison’s position. Similar to Douglass, this prominent intellectual and activist supported slaves by raising awareness about the problem and advocating for minorities’ rights (Mayer, 2008). Douglass also supported Grimke sisters’ definition of abolitionism. They all believed that slavery should be abolished peacefully. They also maintained that educating people on the problem may help them reconsider their views. To summarize, Douglass was considered one of the most well-educated and talented abolitionists of his time, and his works were so brilliant that many even doubted whether a formal slave could write so convincingly. Frederick Douglass undoubtedly contributed to the abolition of slavery. Similar to activists mentioned above, he raised people’s awareness about the suffering caused by slavery, thus helping to turn the tide.


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Garraty, J. A., & Foner, E. (2014). The reader’s companion to American history. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Gregson, S. R. (2003). Nat Turner: Rebellious slave. New Delhi, India: Capstone.
Mayer, G. (2008). All on fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the abolition of slavery. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
Washington, B. T. (2012). Frederick Douglass: A biography. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

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