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The Role of Christianity in Slavery: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Human rights are a multifaceted concept that requires subjective respect and documentation of relationships. In other words, the individual has that set of possibilities and freedoms that are generally accepted. Nonetheless, the times of slavery are a notorious period in social existence in which injustice and cruelty were models for the relationship between slaves and rulers. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir by the author of the same name, which tells about the plight of an individual who succumbed to inhuman treatment. Religion plays a crucial role in this interaction, as false Christianity justified violence and civil stratification.

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Abolitionism is a historically significant process as it influences the transformation of public attitudes based on religion. It is essential to understand that the complexity of these actions during slavery was critical, as the freedom of thought and optimization of any abolitionist movement were limited. Consequently, Frederick Douglass’s feat seems even more exceptional since the man could escaped from slavery and promote a personal educational outlook to the general public and become an orator. A memoir based on this time, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, is a retrospective of the life of the person who used knowledge as a powerful tool for achieving justice. This book describes a battered and oppressed slave’s journey to an educator who could convey the truth to a broader group. In this case, religion is a guiding light that gave the possibility of enlightenment for those who have lost their faith. On the other hand, slaveholders used Christianity as a shield and an explanation for their brutality. Thus, the role of belief in the slave relationship model was often a lie for continued exploitation.

The transformation of public opinion is impossible without individual awareness of the concepts that should be carried to people. Douglass devoted much of the memoir to describing hope as the foundation of the abolitionist movement, which became a personal motivation for literacy and freedom. The author talks about the experience of witnessing beatings, cruelty, and violence against relatives who were slaves. In particular, Aunt Hester was punished many times, and the little nephew saw it every day (Douglass 13). After negative memories and misunderstanding of the appropriateness of such a relationship, the man began the path to education and literacy. Frequent relocation, changing slave owners, and variable relationship practices showed Douglass that cruelty could be explained variously. Mr. Covey was one of the landlords and the most aggressive person in the life of the slave. It was noted that this personality was known for the “negro-breaker” status, which repeatedly caused beatings and exhaustion of Black workers (Douglass 19). This experience caused Douglass to flee and go to a quieter place and, as a result, delve deeper into the rationalization of slavery at the time.

Religion was a shield against slave discontent with deceitful slave owners. It is essential to understand that Douglass accepted Christianity as a religion and respected its canons, but it was transformed in such a way as to oppress people. For example, wealthy individuals were claimed to be Christians to arouse the fear of religion in slaves (Douglass 25). It was a significant part of society’s life at that time, regardless of status, and people were afraid to violate religious commandments, although some of them were not known for sure. In other words, black workers were aware of Christianity’s existence and viewed it as a powerful instrument of hope, but they did not know what faith means in practical experience. Douglass played a significant abolitionist role at the time in terms of the psychological motivation of slaves to break free of their bonds and become knowledgeable members of society (Widyahening and Koesdyantho 171). It was noted that the speaker used acquired literacy and theological knowledge to explain the distinction between authentic faith and pretense to oppress people without appropriate knowledge.

Douglass viewed Christianity as a prerequisite for virtue and justice in modern society. For example, one of the foundations for understanding slave owners’ lies, when they claimed that God would not allow such aggression on faithful followers (Douglass 67). The essence of hope for Black workers is that it gives the possibility of being free sometimes because the deities have made people equal. Also, Mr. Covey was an exceptionally violent man and regularly beat slaves until they fainted, but the individual also prayed every day (Douglass 40). All of this indicated that the slaveholders were using Christianity or following it insincerely to create the appearance of divine justification for their inhuman actions.

Religion is an efficient tool of persuasion, even in the absence of theological knowledge on the other side. The owners used faith to control the workers and claimed to be virtues since they prayed regularly. In turn, the slaves had the hope of salvation since God must provide them with the opportunity to be free. This relationship was explored by Douglass, who became a speaker for enlightening people without knowledge. Thus, Christianity plays a crucial role in the abolitionist movement in the memoir, as it explains the patterns of rationalization of violence by the owners and the slaves’ blind faith to improve their lives.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Dover Publications, 2016.

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Widyahening, Christiana Evy Tri, and A. R. Koesdyantho. “The Struggle of Frederick Douglass to Get His Freedom as Seen in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave (A Psychological Approach).” Researchers World: Journal of Arts & Science and Commerce, vol. 9, no. 2, 2018, pp. 169-174.

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StudyCorgi. "The Role of Christianity in Slavery: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass." March 25, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-role-of-christianity-in-slavery-narrative-of-the-life-of-frederick-douglass/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Role of Christianity in Slavery: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass." March 25, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-role-of-christianity-in-slavery-narrative-of-the-life-of-frederick-douglass/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Role of Christianity in Slavery: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass'. 25 March.

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