“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

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“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

In the 1850s abolition was not a widely embraced movement in the United States. It was considered radical, extreme, and dangerous. In “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” Frederick Douglass sought not only to convince people of the wrongfulness of slavery but also to make abolition more acceptable to Northern whites.

This lesson features five interactive activities The first explores the subtle way in which Douglass compares the patriots of 1776 with the abolitionists of 1852. The second challenges students to determine how Douglass supports his thesis. The third focuses on his use of syllogistic reasoning, while the fourth examines how he makes his case through emotion and the fifth through analogy.

Photo credit: Frederick Douglass, ca 1855, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Check out more free lesson plans and resources on Share My Lesson in the American Slavery Lesson Plans: Teaching Hard History Collection

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July 2019