Frederick Douglass was born a slave in mid-February of 1818. His early life as a slave, as well as his ability to read and write, helped him become the greatest African American of his century. "With seriousness of purpose, Frederick plotted his education as if it were an intrigue, enlisting knowing and unknowing conspirators" (Huggins 5). He was one of few African Americans who was literate, and that made people listen to him. If Douglass had not learned to read and write, or had not run away from his owner, we might have never known who he was. Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist who changed the way society looked at slavery. .
Before Frederick Douglass, society viewed slavery as a way of life. People did not realize the debilitating effect that slavery had on slaves. The owners controlled their slaves and ruined their social and behavioral instincts. They had no rights and were considered property of their masters. Society did not realize the harshness of slavery; slaves had no morals, no beliefs, and no personalities. They did not even know how to read or write. They would not be able to survive in the outside world (Elkins 1-3).
In the early 1800's, black slaves and white owners were .
struggling with the concept of slavery. "Slavery has always been the defining event of American society." It was also the issue that the writers of the Declaration of Independence forgot to mention, "when they proclaimed liberty, equality, and justice for all" (Abdul-Jabbar and Steinberg 75). Slaves had no contact with the outside world; they were segregated from free white men (Elkins 2). The gap between black and white was widening, and something had to be done about it.
The difference between the north and south had been found according to Frederick Douglass. " "It was the superiority of educated mind over mere brute force" " (McKissack and McKissack 74). He was unhappy with the way the country was heading and called for the " "immediate, unconditional, and universal enfranchisement of the black man in every state of the Union" " (Huggins 105).