Human rights stand upon a common basis; and by all the reason that they are supported, maintained and defended, for one variety of the human family, they are supported, maintained and defended for all the human family; because all mankind have the same wants, arising out of a common nature. A diverse origin does not disprove a common nature, nor does it disprove a united destiny.
He stated:. The unity of the human race—the brotherhood of man—the reciprocal duties of all to each, and of each to all, are too plainly taught in the Bible to admit of cavil. These words were not mere words for Douglass and the abolitionists; they were not just-so stories. The Christian doctrine of the unity of the human family or human brotherhood as the sexist language that marked the idea at least since the Enlightenment , contained the world historical insight of equal human dignity, which implied—unleashed, as was seen in several revolutions in the 18 th and 19 th -century—the uncompromising demand for equal rights.
It is important to note here that he thought that there were races to amalgamate, and he affirmed the basic idea that there were biologically distinct races , FDP1 v. As should be clear from his view of universal human brotherhood, he did not however think that much followed from that admission. The existence of biological race did not in his view negate the theological-philosophical insight of universal human brotherhood.
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Douglass understood that the sexual boundaries between the races were thin, and that indeed, the conditions of slavery led to a great deal of mixing. Recall that he held that his unacknowledged father was his white master. Beyond recognizing this condition, he began to promote amalgamation, although, obviously, between free peoples. He believed that blacks and white ought to be free to intermarry and indeed they should intermarry. Why should they marry? Douglass, sensing the transformation of the black and Native American population in the United States, believed this process was natural, that it would continue, and that a new third race, an American race, would emerge in this land.
During his time such views were highly inflammatory and served, and continued to serve, as one reason offered against the emancipation of black slaves, and later as a justification for segregation Sundstrom 11—35 and 93— Nonetheless, in the s he boldly advocated for amalgamation between the races.
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He remarked to a journalist, the day after his second marriage to Helen Pitts, who was white,. God Almighty made but one race.
I adopt the theory that in time the varieties of races will be blended into one. Let us look back when the black and the white people were distinct in this country. In two hundred and fifty years there has grown up a million of intermediate. And this will continue. You may say that Frederick Douglass considers himself a member of the one race which exists.
Amalgamation is conceptually distinct from assimilation; one does not have to accept amalgamation to support assimilation. Assimilation concerns various degrees of social and cultural adoption, adaptation, and absorption. It can theoretically go in either direction, say from black to white or white to black, or it can involve a subtle blending.
Douglass was not exceptional in his support of assimilation. Douglas, as an advocate of assimilation and amalgamation, was by extension a supporter of what would be come known as integration. He is considered by some political theorists to be a primary example of the political ideal of integration as distinct from separatism.
Yet, Douglass is a fitting hero for the integrationist impulse in general. Separatism, for Douglass, was in the interest of the defenders of slavery, and after the U. Civil War, he regarded separatism as a counter-ideal of the abolition movement. Self-separation, according to Douglass, served the interests of whites who wanted to deny blacks their right to integrate into society, to improve and develop, and to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
For similar reasons he opposed plans for black American emigration to Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, or Latin America. He criticized the emigrationist visions of the American Colonization Society, founded by whites, and the African Civilization Society, founded by blacks. He had four reasons to oppose emigration schemes: First, for slavery to end, Douglass argued that black Americans needed to struggle against it in America. Second, Americans had no other home but the United States; they were uniquely American, and products of American history.
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Third, black Americans had a right to the property their labor had produced. By abandoning the United States, they were abandoning the land they built. He wrote,. The native land of the American Negro is America. His bones, his muscles, his sinews, are all American. His ancestors for two hundred and seventy years have lived and laboured and died, on American soil, and millions of his posterity have inherited Caucasian blood.
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It is pertinent, therefore, to ask, in view of this admixture, as well as in view of other facts, where the people of this mixed race are to go, for their ancestors are white and black, and it will be difficult to find their native land anywhere outside of the United States. Douglass b, in Brotz — Fourth and finally, the real solution, according to Douglass, was not emigration, and separation, for that was contrary to historical progress, providence, and the emergence of the new American race.
All the same, Douglass was not opposed to efforts of blacks in collective self-help and self-defense. Nonetheless, his opposition to emigration displayed the downside of his commitment to his natural law and manifest destiny-inspired principles.
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He did not understand how immigration might be, in the eyes of the black Americans that wanted to flee anti-black oppression and especially life-crushing oppression and murderous anti-black violence, a more than reasonable act of self-preservation and self-determination much like his escape from slavery. Douglass moderated his position on migration only at the end of his life when his disillusionment with the United States grew Douglass , , a.
The relation between Douglass and the topic of black political leadership is wrapped up with his life, activities, and writing. He was a leader among black Americans, and served as an unelected spokesperson for free and enslaved blacks during a monumental time for the nation. He wanted to speak for himself, to be his own man and to be a leader among men.
In his self-emancipation from slavery, his efforts to shape his own story, and to speak his mind, he stands as an exemplar of leadership and its virtues. His example was quick to be seized and claimed by other prospective black leaders and spokespersons. The most significant example of this was the conflicting claim between W. Du Bois and Booker T. Indeed both men competed for the opportunity to publish a biography of Douglass with the publishers George W. Du Bois was, instead, given the project of writing a biography of John Brown, which includes large sections on Douglass Du Bois Du Bois presented Douglass as a freedom fighter and a leader of an activist community that demanded full social and political liberty, equality, and inclusion.
Douglass, according to Du Bois, was no accommodationist: he was not given to offering obeisance to white demands to maintain white political, social, and economic superiority over blacks. In the second chapter of that book Du Bois argues against Booker T. Economic liberty is not enough, and any gains in the economic sphere would be hampered and vulnerable without the protections and opportunities provided by social and political liberty and rights.
Here is his reduction of the amalgamationist position:. It may, however, be objected here that the situation of the our race in America renders this attitude impossible; that our sole hope of salvation lies in our being able to lose our race identity in the commingled blood of the nation; and that nay other course would merely increase the friction of races which we call race prejudice, and against which we have so long and so earnestly fought. Du Bois , in Brotz His view is sometimes referred to as cultural pluralism, and his arguments in that early essay, are important landmarks in debates in African social and political thought over separation versus assimilation Boxill ; : —85; ; McGary a; Pittman ; McGary b: 43—61 , and the conservation of race.
No Negro who has given earnest thought to the situation of his people in America has failed, at some time in life, to find himself at these cross-roads; has failed to ask himself at some time: What, after all, am I? Am I an American or am I a Negro? Can I be both? Or is it my duty to cease to be a Negro as soon as possible and be an American? Is not my only possible aim the subduction of all that is Negro in me to the American? Does my black blood place upon me any more obligation to assert my nationality than German, or Irish or Italian blood would?
Booker T. Douglass was a radical Republican, and demanded full inclusion of black Americans in the life of the nation, and the opening up of all opportunities for education and advancement for blacks, and Washington did not. Douglass did not envision himself as the embodiment of the spirit or culture of his people Gooding-Williams 19— He was a democratic thinker, and understood that particular individuals and especially leaders could fail to follow the guidance of the ideals natural law and civic republicanism.
He worked with a variety of groups, some underground while he was a slave, for example, eventually after becoming literate he, unbeknownst to his master, participated in at least one Sabbath School, and several other groups after his escape and emancipation Douglass, a, FDAB: Some of these groups were all black, due to the condition of slavery, but as a free man he worked with integrated groups as well.
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These groups would have cross-cutting interests, such as in his work with the American Equal Rights Association, an organization devoted to universal suffrage. At no point did he think of himself as the singular spokesman for the movement or a group or his race. His politics were principled, in that his views were strongly directed by his acceptance of a liberal conception of natural law, and the related ideas of natural law, human liberty and equality, and the wrongness of slavery. He never shied away from pushing or arguing his views, but in terms of his practical politics, he supported active, participatory, and democratic action Douglass a.
His ideal of leadership was heavily influenced by his view of natural law, and his assumption that the role of heroes should be to stand up for what was mandated by that law. This did not lead him to a view of authoritarian, paternalistic liberalism. The principles of natural law and rights must be processed through a participatory democratic system.
However, the role of the hero leadership, the political or social outsider, the heretic or eccentric, who stands against the tyranny of the majority or minority to defend human rights was absolutely valuable. In defense of the actions of John Brown, for example, Douglass wrote, putting him into heroic terms with overtones of Carlyle and Emerson :. He believes the Declaration of Independence to be true, and the Bible to be a guide to human conduct, and acting upon the doctrines of both, he threw himself against the serried ranks of American oppression, and translated into heroic deeds the love of liberty and hatred of tyrants, with which he was inspired from both these forces acting upon his philanthropic and heroic soul.
Douglass , FDLW v. Thus, we see in his elegies to John Brown and Abraham Lincoln Douglass , in particular, the value he places on Emersonian representative men and the ideal of the statesman guided by the principles of American Civic Republicanism, and his belief in natural law, and the moral progress of the universe. Throughout the duration of the Civil War, and in the years that followed, Douglass remained active in Republican Party politics. He was a staunch supporter of the full, uncompromising Reconstruction of the Union, and advocated for economic and education investment in free and newly-freed black Americans.
He pressed for the expansion of and guarantee of civil rights for blacks, and in particular for the defense of the Civil Rights Act of , which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in Douglass a.