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How Frederick Douglass Escaped Slavery?


When Douglas managed to escape from slavery and safely landed in New York, he felt that he had come to a completely new world. He compares a day in New York to a year in slavery. He claims that he felt the same feelings felt by a person who manages to escape safely from a den of lions. He also states that, although the suffering and anguish he had experienced during his slave life would be realized with great scrutiny, the new joy concealed it.

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Runaway Slaves Discussion

Douglas did not clearly indicate his motivation to escape. However, when he met Anna Murray, a woman who was free and who later became his wife, he received a new lease of life that he could manage to become a free person. Anna encouraged him to escape from slavery and even provided him with a sailing uniform and pass documents. Anna was, therefore, a great motivation to the escape of Douglass.

Douglass used metaphors and symbolism to describe his feelings of having managed to escape. He refers to New York as free soil. Douglas did not have any regrets about his escape from slavery. When he arrives in New York, he writes to a friend and expresses his joy of having managed to get out of slavery. It is in this letter that he compares his slave-life to that of a person in a den of lions. However, it should be noted that, when Douglas went to England in fear of being identified and claimed by his owner as a slave, he went against the advice of his friends and mentors in England not to go back to America. He said that he could not find peace by remaining in England while he knew that his brothers and sisters were still in slavery in America. He, therefore, went back to America in 1847.

Douglass depicts the northern whites as completely different people from their counterparts in the South. He portrays them as humane people who had a soft spot for human freedom. He compares the two places when he says he is now in a free land, from a den of lions. This means that the southerners who were slave owners were cruel. They beat people, made slaves suffer, separated them from their parents, and even killed them at will. Douglass also felt that the Underground Railroad would be used by both the whites and the blacks. He felt that by discriminating the black people from using this railroad, the whites were violating the rights of citizens who had struggled for the same independence.

The Northerners felt that slavery should be ended, while the Southerners felt that it should continue. The Southerners were also against the granting of slave freedom even after their involvement in the Civil War. On the other hand, the African-Americans felt that they were equal citizens of America. Some of them even planned an armed attack on the whites led by John Brown. However, Douglass went against this and agitated for peaceful means of fighting for freedom.


African-Americans would not have been a part of the mainstream culture in the North due to various factors. The North did not grant the African-Americans equal rights with the other citizens. For instance, although they were liberated to live as free people and had identification and travel documents, they could not vote. On the other hand, in the South, the African-Americans had become part of the main culture since they existed in large numbers. Most of the slave owners also had children with their female servants. The children of these servants grew in the same environment as those of the whites and could therefore learn this culture.

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