Frederick Douglass and the ideology of resistance

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7 (4):51-75 (2004)
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Frederick Douglass (1818?1895) was the most significant African?American leader of the nineteenth century. Secretly acquiring literacy as a slave, he grew into a brilliant speaker whose essential genius was to articulate and impeach the ideologies of the day. Douglass was one of the foremost defenders of black emancipation and women?s rights. He developed a dual philosophy of resistance and integration. He taxed blacks with the need for self?reliance; he recalled whites to the justice of racial equality. Freedom would be won by securing to all workers, white or black, the fruit of their labour. Economic progress and enhanced social equality would be achieved by hard work, thrift, education and sobriety. Underlying all his thought and action was an ideology of free labour conjoined with republicanism. He early embraced the ideal of moral suasion. As the prospect of civil war loomed, he accepted the legitimacy of violence ? in self?defence, and to liberate the slaves



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