Frederick Douglass: From Slave to Statesman
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Frederick Douglass: From Slave to Statesman

October 15, 2019


He was one of the most revered Americans of
the 19th century. His story of personal triumph—humble origins
to national prominence—is equal to or greater than that of Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln,
or Ulysses Grant. He never became a politician, but he spoke
to presidents as an equal. His name is Frederick Douglass. Born a slave, Douglass never knew the exact
date of his birth, never knew his father, never saw his mother after the age of seven. This wasn’t uncommon at the time. Slave owners often made a point of separating
families. Breaking family bonds increased dependence
on the slave owner. Discipline was maintained through simple fear
and destroying self-esteem. A slave could be punished for not working
hard enough, but also for working too hard—or even for suggesting labor-saving ideas. Douglass experienced all of this and rebelled
against it. As a teenager, he taught himself to read. This created a desire for freedom. When his owner discovered this disturbing
development, he sent him to live with a local farmer, Edward Covey, who made extra money
breaking the will of unruly slaves. Covey beat Douglass every week for six months,
often for no reason. And it worked. Soon young Frederick gave up all hope of being
free. “The dark night of slavery closed in upon
me,” he later wrote. That all changed one hot August day in 1835. When Covey struck him, Douglass fought back. Where he found the courage, he couldn’t
say. The two men struggled until Covey stumbled
away exhausted. Covey never laid a hand on Douglass again. The teenage slave had stood up for himself. He considered this the most important lesson
of his life. Years later, he would tell this story when
urging black men to enlist in the Union Army to fight the Confederacy. “You owe it to yourself,” he said. “You will stand more erect . . . and be
less liable to insult. . . . You [will be] defending your own liberty,
honor, manhood, and self-respect.” Douglass made his escape from slavery in 1838,
slipping into the North disguised as a U.S. Navy sailor. At any point along the rail journey, his flimsy
cover could have been blown. Displaying a confidence he didn’t actually
feel, he bluffed his way past suspicious conductors and runaway-slave hunters. Once in the North, he joined the radical abolitionist
movement and was quickly recognized as a powerful speaker and writer. The movement’s leader, William Lloyd Garrison,
burned the Constitution at his July 4th speeches. In Garrison’s view, it legally protected
slavery and was therefore irredeemable. But Douglass came to reject that. He believed that the Constitution was fundamentally
opposed to slavery. “Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted,”
Douglass said, “the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.” Not surprisingly, Douglass was a strong supporter
of the Republican Party—the new anti-slavery party—and of the Union cause in the Civil
War. Initially, he had doubts about Abraham Lincoln. He didn’t think Lincoln was truly committed
to ending slavery. But he warmed up to the Great Emancipator
as the conflict wore on. Lincoln, on the other hand, always admired
Douglass. “Here comes my friend Douglass,” Lincoln
said when he saw him at his second inaugural in 1865. The Union victory ended slavery. But as the Democratic Party re-established
itself in the South in the 1870s and ‘80s, a new kind of racial oppression arose in the
form of Jim Crow laws and, even worse, widespread lynching. This was a bitter pill for Douglass to swallow. But he never gave up the struggle and spent
the last three decades of his life agitating for civil rights. “Freedom,” he was fond of saying, “depended
on three boxes: the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box.” For Douglass, it was self-evident that black
Americans, as citizens, were entitled to full freedom and full legal protection. At a speech in 1893, when white hecklers began
booing him, Douglass set his speech aside and spoke extemporaneously. “There is no Negro problem,” he roared. “The problem is whether the American people
have honesty enough, loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their
own Constitution.” He also believed that true liberty would only
come for black Americans—as it comes for anyone—when they took full responsibility
for their own fate. Ultimately, hard work and education would
secure blacks the rights they deserved. “There can be no independence without a
large share of self-dependence. . . . This virtue cannot be bestowed. It must be developed from within,” he declared
in his most popular lecture, appropriately titled “Self-Made Men.” Douglass defended equality and freedom until
the day he died—literally. He passed away in 1895, on his way to a political
convention. He had well understood the deep prejudice
that existed, but he never accepted it as an inherent part of American culture. “My cause,” he wrote, “was and is that
of the black man; not because he is black, but because he is a man.” I’m Timothy Sandefur, author of Frederick
Douglass: Self-Made Man, for Prager University.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. We must realize that our party's most powerful weapon is racial tensions. By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for centuries they have been oppressed by whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist Party. In America we will aim for subtle victory. While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavor to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negroes. We will aid the Negroes to rise in prominence in every walk of life, in the professions and in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige, the Negro will be able to intermarry with the whites and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause.[1] Israel Cohen. Wikipedia claims it's a hoax speech without stating how or who disproved it. It's obviously NOT a hoax if it's occurring.

  2. How dare you make this video your so racist showing real history with your facts. J/k Thanks for the epic history knowledge I don't remember learning about this in school.

  3. His sons died in the war. Not like modern wealthy warmongers who use the poverty draft to throw poor young people into the meat grinder.

  4. Frederick Douglass nailed the modern leftist by saying that ""It is one of the easiest and commonest things in the world for a successful man to be followed in his career through life and to have constantly pointed out this or that particular stroke of good fortune which fixed his destiny and made him successful. If not ourselves great, we like to explain why others are so. We are stingy in our praise to merit, but generous in our praise to chance. Besides, a man feels himself measurably great when he can point out the precise moment and circumstance which made his neighbor great. He easily fancies that the slight difference between himself and his friend is simply one of luck. It was his friend who was lucky but it might easily have been himself. Then too, the next best thing to success is a valid apology for non-success. Detraction is, to many, a delicious morsel. The excellence which it loudly denies to others it silently claims for itself. It possesses the means of covering the small with the glory of the great. It adds to failure that which it takes from success and shortens the distance between those in front and those in the rear. Even here there is an upward tendency worthy of notice and respect. The kitchen is ever the critic of the parlor. The talk of those below is of those above. We imitate those we revere and admire."

    The TL'DR version of that for the status updating, Tweet sending, 280 character or less generation is:

    1) people like to blame the success of others on luck
    2) because if they don't have what those people have it is no fault of their own but it was the luck of others
    3) they do this because it makes them feel great while the other person was just lucky

    Or in his words "Detraction is, to many, a delicious morsel…It possesses the means of covering the small with the glory of the great. It adds to failure that which it takes from success…"

    It blames success on luck and lack of success on greatness. Then those who engage in this can go around with a chip on their shoulder saying "I am great even though I am living paycheck to paycheck and Bill Gates is just lucky." But that's not true. Bill Gates didn't get lucky. He didn't get lucky by birth, environment, education, people he knew or anything else. He did the things and possessed the characteristics that make someone capable of achieving what he has achieved. This doesn't mean that every person will achieve what he has achieved or that if he had lived a different life his career would have gone a different direction. Bill Gates would have been great regardless whether he founded Microsoft or became a world renowned poet or musician because he had the characteristics that allowed him to achieve whatever he set his mind to and this is what really offends those who haven't achieved what they want. Maybe he wouldn't have been a poet or a musician either. Maybe he would just have become the best god damn carpenter that people in his community looked to to build their homes or businesses. He would have excelled at carpentry. He wouldn't have lived paycheck to paycheck because he was a great man.

    Leftists are going to fly into a rage if they have read this and be angry that I dare say:

    Bill Gates has what he wants and has because he is a great man
    They don't have what they want or need because they aren't great men

    He isn't a failure but for luck and they aren't great but for misfortune or being unlucky. He is a great man and successful because he is great and they aren't.

  5. Abolitionists were a tiny minority in the conflict of the 1860’s. Shame on the unAmerican and unpatriotic prager university for crapping out this propaganda.

  6. Its unrelated to this 30 of my emails that were flagged as spam were conservative things i was interested in only one was real spam

  7. Fredric Douglass was a devout Republican.
    The Democrat Party is the party of slavery!
    You will never learn about this in the liberal-
    left communist/fascist/socialist school
    system.
    Blacks for Trump!

  8. Frederick Douglass: My cause was and is for the black man, not because he is black but because he is a man.

    Modern leftist: DaS sExIsT, mAsOgAnIsT, sHoVaNiStIc!!!!!

  9. The races are far better off being separate from one another. No amount of virtue signaling and ass kissing will erase the undeniable and inescapable differences between them that make living together cohesively in the same country under the same government impossible. That last part is credited to Abraham Lincoln, who said the same thing

  10. There are few men who exemplify the virtues and ideals of America better than Frederick Douglas. Every young person in America today should read his works.

  11. Love waking up to revisionist history on monday mornings, a little ironic that this channel also upholds racists and ignores systemic issue regarding race and thus puts an emphasis on personal responsibility and not systemic change.

  12. It's interesting how things never really change. The tactics the Democrats used to control their slaves are the same tactics they use to control their minions, today. Truth, honesty, decency, love, tolerance, honor, and compassion mean nothing to these people. The only thing that matters to them is: Does it work? Just ask Harry Reid.

  13. The quotes from 4:36 through 5:00 were powerful! That's what blacks need to know and adhere to in order to become productive and well respected members of society. Great video!

  14. Young blacks today have no idea who Douglas was. If they did, they would not fall prey to the messages of popular black culture, which are vile and self defeating. It preaches blame and irresponsibility, something Douglas abhorred.

  15. Great video. I read F.D.'s autobiography almost 30 years ago, and have wondered since then why he hasn't gotten more attention. Somehow I doubt Spike Lee will make a movie about him.

  16. “Everybody has asked the question. . ."What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”
    Fredrick Douglass

  17. I LOVE FREDERICK DOUGLASS! I wrote my ten page final research paper on him in one of my US history classes, and there are few men in history I admire more. Thank you for sharing his story.

  18. I'm going to admit, I always got the impression that Frederick Douglass was a bitter, cynical man. I understand that that's perfectly understandable given what he went through, but it feels like his writings focused so much on what had been and what was wrong that they're a big part of why people today are still stuck in the mindset that nothing has changed. Contrast him with Booker T. Washington and it's like Douglass is a bitter grey miser while Washington is a joyous vibrant visionary. You read Washington and it's impossible not to catch his infectious optimism and belief in the fundamental power of the human individually AND collectively. And it makes perfect sense that today's grievance-mongers would dismiss Washington while singing the praises of Douglass. :/

  19. Greater than that of Andrew Jackson? Clear banking propaganda. Why is that? Because Dennis Prager is a zionist Jew and the Zionist Jews, like Paul Warburg, were behind the federal reserve.

  20. Saying "PragerU is propaganda" is actually propaganda, because that one word is both empty AND broad in such a context. It tells you nothing but a vague "this thing bad, avoid bad thing" without ever explaining any form of nuance that composes the situation and allowing for misleading equivocation. Change my mind.

  21. Can PragerU stop pretending that supporting the Republican party in the 1880's is the same as supporting the Republican party now? Jesus.

  22. 03:53 | Good 2nd Amendment fodder.
    Per Frederick Douglas … "Freedom depended on three boxes: the Ballot Box, the Jury Box and the Cartridge Box".

  23. https://youtu.be/45Sl-aRQI4k

    well.. i stumbled upon that f**kery and similar videos, i wonder what Mr.Prager think about it.

    does freedom of speech really worth fighting for?

    hmm.

  24. Frederick Douglass is the greatest exam of what makes America great. Born into slavery and treated less that an animal, he managed to achieve greatness through strength, perseverance and ultimately faith in God. He is one of the greatest men this country has ever produced and his legacy will eternally woven into the very fabric of America. It is up to us that he is not forgotten. The current agenda driven education system is determined to remove his life and his works from the curriculum of study. Every American need to honor Douglass as we honor Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and King.

  25. I'm genuinely impressed that PragerU was able to bring Timothy Sandefur as their guest. I read his book: Self Made Man in high school. In my opinion, this further boosts the credibility of PragerU.

  26. Frederick Douglass is among the greatest Americans of his time. I'm glad I at least had some teachers along the way who did talk about him.

  27. Omg I was just about to link Tim’s book on amazon before I knew he was the one doing this video. He’s definitely a great wordsmith and knows his stuff. I bet he’ll be on A&G this week 🙃

  28. I hate when liberals are so racist by calling all African Americans that are not Democrats "racist and disgrace to their culture

  29. What a statesman, what an orator! But you're wrong he wasn't a politician. In 1870, he ran for Vice President on the Free Speech Party ticket with Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president. Women couldn't vote but there was nothing in the Constitution that said she couldn't run.

  30. Hum funny how you forgot to mention that Garrison was right, the Dred Scott case settled that. Also these southen democratic states you mention, which party do they vote for today?

  31. I'll never understand US citizen's irrational attachment to their constitution. A constitution should be an evolutive document that defines the rules of government an only that. If it carries emotional or quasi-religious attachment, it's a bad one.

  32. Freddy D was a man of his own kind, a tough hard working self-respecting man, and to this day we got plenty of blacks sharing the sane views as him, Kanye West, Dave Chapelle, Chance The Rapper, and many more; are
    influenced by being non-apologetic, non-surrrendering, and commited to protecting their own rights, even when it would kill em'.

  33. and i am psychological paranoid about death my mind sometimes wants to believe i could be immortal and invincible, but deep inside i know that isn't true, but what can be and will be true, i can be free, for i am free, being humiliated doesn't stop you from being free, neither does a whip or cold water or being beat to death make you less free, if you have the courage to stand up for your freedom when it is being refused, you must still be free

  34. 🤓🤓🤓🤓Great things were done by republicans especially when it came to indigent people of color. The republicans of the 21st century have removed themselves from being American pro democracy patriots to wealthy non committed entrepreneurs that see American democracy as nothing more than something to sell peddle and make huge profits, at the expense of its American citizens. The original Republican Party no longer exist. What was left of the Republican Party died with Ronald Reagan. Now there are Anti Americans in the White House.😩😩😩😭😭😭😖😖😖🤕🤕🤕😭😭😭

  35. My favourite part was when HARD WORK and EDUCATION secured blacks the RIGHTS they DESERVED. Which /seems/ racist, given how black people are treated in the US. But then a black guy from the olden days said it, so I guess it isn't.

  36. So I Guess Because of The Things Fredrick Douglas Overcame,
    And Because of His Notoriety And Success,
    So Called Black People
    Should Forgive And Forget And Move on Yes!

    I DON’T THINK SO!🤬

  37. To the collectivist Left, any black person who thinks like Frederick today – who sees the individual above race and rejects gov't dependency — is an "uncle tom", and not worthy listening to. Same with any white person, except of "uncle tom" we get the privilege of having the racism and supremacism of progressives projected onto us 24/7. Amazing.

  38. "My cause was and is for the black man not because he is black, but because he is a man". Sounds like progressives today.

  39. This film is full of substantial errors. Read the Wiki entry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass#Life_as_a_slave

  40. He would be absolutely disgusted with groups like BLM and by the whole "white privilege" narrative that many people are adopting today

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