David Walker, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass Essay

Pages: 3 (971 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

David Walker, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, And How They Used God to Understand the Experience of American Slavery

The Role of God in American Slavery

Throughout history, humans have always used God and religion to normalize behavior or make sense of trials. No historical event makes this clearer than American slavery. In the American South, slaves, slave owners, free blacks, abolitionists, and those who sympathized with the cause of slavery all used God and religion to color their view of the subject. On the other hand, the economic and social value of slavery certainly colored these people's view of God. For slave owners, God and Christianity were used as scapegoats for the social construction of slavery. Because these people claimed that God had ordained slavery, they saw themselves as good Christians for having slaves. Others even believed that God had created slaves as inferior creatures, so it was the slave owner's duty to take in the slave and keep him or her "safe" from the outside world, much like one would do with a dog or a cat. Slaves and others who sympathized with them, however, saw God as a liberator, one who would set them free from their plight. By examining the writings of free black David Walker and slaves Frederick Douglass and Nat Turner, one can realize how slave owner, slaves, and free blacks used God to understand the concept of slavery.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Essay on David Walker, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, and Assignment

In his "Appeal," free black David Walker begins by asking God to help him make his case. He goes on to suggest that he understands how slave owners and those who sympathize with the condition of slavery have pulled God and religion into the political issue. Walker writes that he knows that will be "assailed by those…who are of the firm conviction that Heaven has designed us and our children to be slaves and beasts of burden" to them and their children." In his narrative, slave Frederick Douglass echoes this fact by suggesting that slave masters played many tricks in order to keep slaves ignorant, or stop them from rising up. One of the tactics that Douglass mentions, specifically, is the use of whisky during holidays. Douglass suggests that slave owners enjoyed it when their slaves spent the entire holiday getting drunk because it made them see that work was better than a drunken stupor. In addition, Douglass goes on to argue that the slave owners found more degrading, physical sports such as wrestling and boxing to be more acceptable pastimes for slaves than reading or learning to read for a similar reason -- it kept the slaves feeling like a much lower class than the slaveholders and kept them busy with activities that would not likely lead to revolt. In this same way, slave owners would attempt to pass their religion to their slaves in order to keep them quite, telling them that slavery is ordained by God. What Walker… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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