Frederick Douglass - francinebavay.info
Historians have traditionally regarded the series of seven debates between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during the Illinois. The Lecompton affair covered Stephen Douglas's partisanship with a veneer of principle. It also shifted his political focus from pacification of the South, which. But today, we want to talk about Lincoln's relationship to another figure in American politics - Frederick Douglass, the famous leader of the.
Take from us, and give to the enemy, the hundred and thirty, forty, or fifty thousand colored persons now serving us as soldiers, seamen, and laborers, and we can not longer maintain the contest. It is not a question of sentiment or taste, but one of physical force, which may be measured, and estimated as horsepower, and steam power, are measured and estimated. And by measurement, it is more than we can lose, and live.
Why Frederick Douglass Despised, Then Loved Abraham Lincoln
Nor can we, by discarding it, get a white force in place of it. There is a witness in every white mans bosom that he would rather go to the war having the negro to help him, than to help the enemy against him.
It is not the giving of one class for another. It is simply giving a large force to the enemy, for nothing in return. There in a corner I saw a man quietly reading who possessed a remarkable physiognomy.
I was rivetted to the spot. I was compelled to speak. Said I, are you the President. No replied the stranger, I am Frederick Douglass.
Lincoln, Douglass encouraged his sons to join the Union Army — he was a leading proponent of the use of black soldiers. He did, however, petition Mr. Lincoln to discharge a sick son from military service. A few days later, Douglass wrote the President: That every slave who escapes from the Rebel States is a loss to the Rebellion and a gain to the Loyal Cause I need not stop to argue[;] the proposition is self evident. The negro is the stomach of the rebellion.
Since the interview with wh[ich]. Your Excellency was pleased to honor me a few days ago, I have freely conversed with several trustworthy and Patriotic Colored men concerning your suggestion that something should be speedily done to inform the slaves in the Rebel states of the true state of affairs in relation to them…and to warn them as to what will be their probable condition should peace be concluded while they remain within the Rebel lines: All with whom I have thus far spoken on the subject, concur in the wisdom and benevolence of the Idea, and some of them think it practicable.
That every slave who escapes from the Rebel states is a loss to the Rebellion and a gain to the Loyal Cause, I need not stop to argue the proposition is self evident. I will therefore briefly submit at once to your Excellency — the ways and means by which many such persons may be wrested from the enemy and brought within our lines: Let him have the means and power to employ twenty or twenty five good men, having the cause at heart, to act as his agents: Let each of the said agts have power — to appoint one subagent or more in the locality where he may be required to operate: Let the sub agents for this service be paid a sum not exceeding two dolls — per day while upon active duty.
The General Agt should also have a kind of roving Commission within our lines, so that he may have a more direct and effective oversight of the whole work and thus ensure activity and faithfulness on the part of his agents- This is but an imperfect outline of the plan — but I think it enough to give your Excellency an Idea of how the desirable work shall be executed. Lincoln a personal note on the same day — this one requesting a discharge from the Army for his ailing son Charles.
President — I hope I shall not presume to[o] much upon your kindness — but I have a very great favor to ask. It is not that you will appointed me General Agent to carry out the Plan now proposed — though I would not shrink from that duty — but it is, that you will cause my son Charles R Douglass. When he enlisted — and has been in the service If your Excellency can confer this favor — you will lay me under many obligations[.
Frederick Douglass wavered on his support of Mr. Lincoln, and withheld from him my support. That possibility is now no longer conceivable; it is now plain that this country is to be governed or misgoverned during the next four years, either by the Republican Party represented in the person of Abraham Lincoln, or by the miscalled Democratic Party, represented by George B.
With this alternative clearly before us, all hesitation ought to cease, and every man who wishes well to the slave and to the country should at once rally with all the warmth and earnestness of his nature to the support of Abraham Lincoln.
Douglass had little contact with his mother and was brought up by his grandmother until the age of seven when he was turned over to the main plantation house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. His early life was a difficult one in which he was somewhat more privileged than the average slave child, associating with white playmates through whose association he learned to read and play the violinbut also more stressful because he was separated totally from his family and moved from place to place — spending a portion of his time in Baltimore before he was shipped back to the Eastern Shore.
Although Douglass had been promised eventual freedom, a dispute over his pay with his master led to his decision to escape North, eventually to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he changed his name to avoid return to slavery. Before he escaped, he had fallen in love with a free but illiterate black woman, Anna Murray, a domestic five years his senior.
She followed him North and they married in New York City before continuing on. They eventually had five children — two daughters and three boys.
At a church meeting in New Bedford inDouglass made his first speech — denouncing colonization and deportation of black slaves. He remained a fervent foe of such schemes and a proponent of integration for the rest of his life. Douglass eventually broke with Garrison and the Society over their opposition to any kind of political involvement and their condemnation of the Constitution.
Lincoln, Douglass felt the Constitution should be a protection against, rather than a sanction for slavery. Although not a thorough student of the law his large fund of good commonsense kept him in the front rank. He was equally generous and courteous, and he never stooped to gain a case.
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
I know that Lincoln entertained the same view of him. It was only in politics that Douglas demonstrated any want of inflexibility and rectitude, and then only did Lincoln manifest a lack of faith in his morals. Massachusetts Congressman John B. He went with me from the Senate Chamber to the House of Representatives, of which I was then a member, and a small squad of Republicans gathered around him to hear him read the telegram.
He has probably split as many rails as I have made secretary and bureau cases. Lincoln, Douglas got the quicker start in life and early moved farther ahead.
Lincoln moved to Illinois when he was 21, Douglas when he was Lincoln got to know Douglas when they served together in the state legislature in the lates in Vandalia and subsequently hung out together at night at the general storeowned by Joshua F.
Speed in Springfield, There the issues of the day were debated. Lincoln scholar Joseph E. Finally Douglas bounced out of his chair, declaring: We will discuss the questions publicly with you. The following evening the two parties chose their spokesmen: Baker, and Orville H. Browning for the Whigs. For the final two weeks of the year, the opposing sides met regularly at the Second Presbyterian Church with Mr.
Lincoln attacking the Van Buren Administration subtreasury scheme and Democratic corruption. Lincoln actively participated and for the Lincoln-Douglas debates of Lincoln at this event. Indeed, Douglas is said to have courted Miss Todd during this period. That year, Abraham Lincoln began his single term of service in the House before retiring to practice law.
He believed in the war, and did not object to the acquisition through the war of new territory. He looked with longing eyes toward the vast region west of that we had acquired by the Louisiana Purchase.
He took the lead in forcing the Compromise of through Congress. In that position it became his duty to frame and report the bills for the organization of the new territory. He therefore introduced in the senate bills for the organization of Utah and New Mexico. These bills provided for the admission of California as a free state and for the organization of Utah and New Mexico without any provision as to slavery, leaving it to the people of each territory to admit or exclude it as they should see fit.
Henry Clay now proposed a comprehensive plan for adjusting all questions relating to slavery that were disturbing the peace of the union, by a series of measures.
These changes were subsequently struck out and the bills were passed in the exact form in which they were originally proposed. Douglas may therefore be properly regarded as the author of all that part of the great compromise of that related to the organization of the new territory.
It was based upon what he considered the great principle of allowing the people of a territory to regulate their own affairs in their own way. It had the additional advantage of quieting the country by removing the settlement of the slavery question from congress.
It was only an episode in Mr. Douglass was idolized by his followers.
Lincoln was loved by his. Douglass was the representative of his partizans. Lincoln was the representative man of the unsophisticated People.
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas - Abraham Lincoln's Classroom
Douglass was great in the estimation of his followers. Lincoln was good in the opinion of his supporters. Douglass headed a party. Lincoln stood upon a principle. Lincoln was as temperate — in politics and appetites — as Douglas was intemperate. Historian Stephen Oates wrote: One can imagine what he was like in private conversation.
Although both men were ambitious, Douglas was more drawn to money and power than was Mr.
While Douglas made money from real estate, Mr. Lincoln stuck to the law. There was Lincoln with his old tall stovepipe hat and coat with the sleeves that were too short and the ill-fitting pants that stopped long before they reached the tops of his outsized boots.
That part of his body, sir, which men wish to kick, is too near the ground! Lincoln were separated by a foot in height, but the separation in their attitude toward slavery was greater. Journalist Henry Villard probably exaggerated when he wrote in after the Ottawa debate on August 21, His chest was broad and indicated great strength of lungs. It took but a glance at his face and head to convince one that they belonged to no ordinary man.
No beard hid any part of his remarkable, swarthy features. His mouth, nose, and chin were all large and clearly expressive of much boldness and power of will. The broad, high forehead proclaimed itself the shield of a great brain. The head, covered with an abundance of flowing black hair just beginning to show a tinge of grey, impressed one with its massiveness and leonine expression. His brows were shaggy, his eyes a brilliant black. Lincoln was the deeper thinker — more grounded in philosophy and ideas.
Douglas was…was a pragmatic, professional politician, frequently bumptious and full of bluster, subject to outbursts of oratory that were not always designed to clarify the issues under discussion. I affect no contempt for the high eminence he has reached. All of the anxious politicians of his party, or who have been of his party for years past, have been looking upon him as certainly, at no distant day, to be the President of the United States.
They have seen, in his jolly, fruitful face, post offices, land offices, marshalships and cabinet appointments, chargeships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting foth in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands. On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President.
In my poor, lean, lank face nobody has ever seen that cabbages were sprouting out. Douglas bounced back in when he married Adele Cutts. After an extended trip through Europe to revive his body and spirits, Douglas returned to politics in the fall of He sought to rally his party for the congressional session and reinforce his chances for the presidential nomination.
- Lincoln–Douglas debates
- Lincoln-Douglas Debates
- Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas
He was also caught in the crosscurrents of his own party, where southern influence was particular strong. President Franklin Pierce, who was as passive as Douglas was dynamic, proved incapable of piloting his own political craft. Douglas decided he needed to navigate the Democratic vessel if he was to arrive at his own desired presidential destination. But powerful and influential as he was, Douglas did not have control of the situation.
Douglas was an unapologetic proponent of western expansion and territorial development. He was above all a nationalist, and his nationalism was essentially materialistic. He wanted to extend American development across the prairies and mountains to the Pacific — and that required population and development of the territories in between. It also required a railroad to connect the two coasts — which Douglas first proposed in His goal of a Pacific railroad and his desire, with one eye on the president to appease proslavery politicians like Missouri Senator David Atchison tell only part of the story.
He was a born doer and when his restless spirit was confronted with a problem his first response was most frequently to take some form of positive action.
There were times when Douglas confused motion with action, and upon occasion he acted precipitately to the detriment of himself and his country. Speaking of the Missouri Compromise inSenator Douglas said: Douglas was a master of legislative legerdemain and rhetorical razzle-dazzle. Lincoln categorically denied that either the line or the aforesaid provisions constituted any kind of principle whatever. Indignant speakers at meetings poured out their rage; editors lambasted the hapless senator.
It destroyed the Whig Party, it gave birth to the Republican party, and it led to a little civil war between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers in Kansas. Douglas said that he could ride from Boston to Chicago by the light of his burning effigy by night and in sight of his hanging effigy by day.
For the first time in his life he was unable to pacify the mob that greeted him upon his return to Chicago. He was confronted by three principal charges: Douglas replied that the organization of the territories was a necessity and that the only means of effecting it was to refer the question of slavery to the people fo the territories, that the Missouri compromise was subject to repeal like any other act of congress, and that the North had violated its letter by resisting the admission of Missouri in and had repudiated its spirt by refusing the extend the compromise line to the Pacific.
He advised Charles H. They threaten a mob but I have no fears. All will be right. His supporters were out shouted by opponents of the legislation. Douglas attempted to speak above the din but eventually gave up.
Chicago journalist Horace White recalled: Here he attempted to defend his course in repealing the Missouri Compromise. The meeting was certainly a failure, and Douglas decided to make no more speeches in that part of the State during the campaign. Douglas biographer Allen Johnson wrote: Next day the Fusionists put forward Lincoln to answer him; and when Lincoln had spoken for nearly four hours, Douglas again took the stand and held his audience for an hour and a half longer.
Those were the days when the speaking powers of speakers were equaled only by the patience of their hearers. Lincoln asked Bunn what he thought of the address. Lincoln repeatedly looked for the logical and factual errors in Douglas persuasive rhetoric. Douglas biographer Gerald M.
It was rather the right of local self-government and the related concept of strict construction of the Constitution: The strong national appeal of his position was indicated by the fact that Greeley and eastern Republicans at once rallied to his support, even though their motives were largely partisan.
They had a two-hour meeting, and Lincoln kept other congressmen and governors waiting because of his conversation with Frederick Douglass. And their third meeting was at the second inaugural. Douglass had virtually a front-row seat, stood right in front of Lincoln. Lincoln saw Douglass in the inaugural address. Douglass was invited to the White House for the reception after. He Was initially turned away at the door by a policeman who said, no blacks are allowed to enter.
Douglass said, there must be a mistake. He enters the elegant East Room. He is surrounded by a crowd of whites, and he says, here comes my friend, Frederick Douglass. It's good to see you. He shakes Douglas' hand.
He says, I saw you in the crowd today. What did you think of my inaugural address?
There is no man in these United States whose opinion I value more than yours. When we say that they were friends, what do we mean by that? I mean, is it in a way that, you know, members of Congress when they're standing on the floor will say, my good friend from New Jersey? What do we mean by that?
That's a great question. It - more than anything else, their friendship was utilitarian. Douglass recognized that he needed Lincoln on his side to help him achieve his chief aim of ending slavery and trying to bring about racial equality.
He need the president on his side. Lincoln recognized that he needed Douglass on his side to help him achieve his chief aim, which is winning the war because Lincoln finally realized that in order to win the war, he needed blacks on his side. He needed blacks fighting for him.
And more than anything else, that was the basis of their friendship because these two separate goals had converged. In order to win the war, you needed to emancipate slavery. In order to emancipate slavery, you needed to win the war. Friendship was a term that was crucially important at the time because from, really, classic antiquity - from Cicero, Plato, Aristotle forward through the 19th Century - friendship was a central philosophical, political, intellectual concept.
It was believed that a virtuous society was one in which friendships flourished. And especially in a democratic society, friendship was seen as a test case of whether or not democracy was working.
And more particularly, interracial friendship was seen as a symbol of whether or not democracy could work. So Douglass especially promoted, championed his interracial friendship as a kind of test case, on-the-ground example of how democracy could work, and in his hope, an inspiration for others in the United States.
So what do you think the importance of this friendship was to today? To bring it home immediately, I think that Douglass and Lincoln were absolutely central to Barack Obama's own self-making and his ability to win the presidency. Obama has on numerous occasions acknowledged his debt to Lincoln. From Lincoln, he understands the importance of being pragmatic, of being willing to sacrifice one's ideals in quest of achieving a common understanding beyond social divide.
And for Frederick Douglass, Obama has said in audacity of hope that from Douglass he understands that in certain circumstances, power will concede nothing without a fight.
If in certain areas you need to be pragmatic, in other areas, you need to stand up, and you can't budge. And the most effective way to fight power is through words, through using words as weapons, through converting your audiences.
The other aspect that he learned from Frederick Douglass, which I think is crucial, is that to quote Frederick Douglass now, true love breaks down racial barriers. Frederick Douglass would go on stage, and Douglass, like Obama, is nothing if not handsome, beautiful.