Free «Fourth of July» Essay
To begin with, Fourth of July marks the independence day of the United States of which it is a federal holiday whereby there is a commemoration of the adoption of the Declaration of independence from the kingdom of the Great Britain. Associated with the day are celebrations in many ways. They involve political speeches, ceremonies, use of fireworks, parades, fairs, concerts, barbecues, carnivals, baseball games and both private and public events all made to celebrate the independence of the United states. This day came as a result of the American Revolution in the sense that the American colonies were separated from the Great Britain. Before then a proposition by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia had gone forth and as a result in the second continental Congress a resolution was reached (Smith & Ramirez-Krodel,1990).
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This happened on 2, July 1776 of which 4th July concentrated on the declaration. Among the founding fathers was Thomas Jefferson who was the principal author of the committee of five. Also there was Jon Adams who had predicted about the declaration of the independence two days before. This day was celebrated also because the American colonies were tired of the taxes imposed on them. They were tired of the crown that ruled and as a result they sought to make it to gain the liberty and freedom that every human being longs for. They sought for equity on the basis that all men were equal and that they should have freedom that makes them to pursue happiness (Foner, 2008). Following this point, the founding fathers had the 4th July as a day that they celebrated freedom that they fought many battles in order to get (Foner, 2008). They were relieved of the great grievances they had under the British crown which at the same time taxed them along with exerting violence on them like the case of Massacre.
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Despite the freedom that the Americans celebrated, the slaves in this case had a different meaning from theirs. This is evident in the exploration of the speech made by Frederick Douglass who was famous and known as an influential African American leader of the 1800s. Having been born as a slave in Maryland, he managed to escape to North in 1838. He was a leading figure in the England antislavery movement in the society. The celebration of freedom in the nation on the 4th July was like a mockery to the salves who were in America and in particular the African Americans. By calling Frederick Douglass to make a speech on this particular day of celebrating the nation’s independence surfaced the nation’s greatest hypocrisy (Foner, 2008). According to Frederick Douglass the nation’s celebrations of freedom was hypocrisy since many of the people were at the borders held as slaves.
The 4th of July to the slaves brought no meaning as it had nothing to do with their freedom and in this case it appeared as a mockery and hypocrisy. Focusing on the meaning of independence, the political freedom and natural justice that was provided by the independence was not extended to the African American and thus Frederick Douglass viewed it that he was in the celebration not because of himself and the ones he represented but for the Americans alone. In line with this, the benefits that came along with the independence did not bring any impact to the slaves as they remained as slaves even though freedom according to Americans was achieved (Smith & Ramirez-Krodel, 1990). The celebrations that are usually held on 4th July to the slaves, they only heighten the distance between the Americans and the African Americans who were held in slavery. They are not allowed to celebrate the rich inheritance that of justice, prosperity and liberty and thus the independence is only celebrated by the Americans and not the African Americans who were the slaves. Just like taking a man in prison under fetters and take him to a temple of liberty was the state of the slaves in America (Foner 2008).
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By the mere fact that the Americans shout and celebrate the Independence Day, they make the millions of slaves to mourn even more, since the shouts make their chains of slavery heavy and grievous even more unbearable. In America, the slaves are not acknowledged as human beings and for that reason they were not allowed to read and know how to write. In the case of the seventy two crime of Virginia, if committed by a black man, he is given the penalty of death while only two crimes among the seventy two on which a white man would face a death sentence. When Independence Day claims liberty for all and equity, to the salves this is wrong since they have remained as the American slaves over a long time. The American slaves do a lot of heavy work using manual labour that only wearies them. They are treated as if they are not human beings being subjected to heavy work and discrimination (Smith & Ramirez-Krodel, 1990, p.24).
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In actual fact, they have a lot to offer but the treatment they receive from the Americans is far much to be questioned. In this sense, American slaves are treated with contempt and they long for deliverance. Even before God and the face of all humanity, slavery stand to be condemned as it deprives the slaves the natural freedom of living. Being treated as if they are machines and not human beings the slaves have faced blood shed and many such crimes that they are subjected to as if they are not human beings who need freedom just as the others do. The meaning of freedom to the American slaves was that they would be freed from the slavery but this did not make any sense since they were denied their freedom.
As a result they sought to voice out their claims that they needed freedom to no avail. Emancipation of the slaves to the American society was not a reality and following this point the blacks were denied access to land. Accordingly, industrialization came along with the enriching of the captains and exploiting the working class. Among those that were exploited were slaves who worked and even over worked in the plantations. Following this point freedom was only to the white Americans and not to the blacks who were taken as slaves. Though, the American society claimed that it had attained independence along with freedom, it was however limited to the whites and denied the farmers, immigrants, blacks, women and those that were colonial subjects. Restrictions to the immigrants were intensified and though prosperity was made for all according to equity and freedom, the slaves continue to suffer. According to slaves, 4th of July was a source of injustice whereby the Americans celebrated and even gave thanks to God for the freedom yet they forgot the many crimes they committed in the slave trade they engaged in (Smith & Ramirez-Krodel , 1990, p.30). Slave trade was against the right of humanity and deprived its victims of their freedom to enjoy natural justice and freedom of their bodies. America is thought of as to have prospered and attained freedom but its celebrations are only a cover up of the crimes they commit.
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The freedom promised by the independence has been abused since equity is no longer practiced. Thus it is evident that in order to maintain their wealth and prosperity, the captains in America make use of slaves in order to meet their goals. Many are times when the freedom of worship has been abused in the sense that Christianity claim liberty of which is not exercised as many American slaves remain without freedom. If it is the justice that should be practiced in order to bring about freedom, this has not been done since even in reality slavery is wrong and it beats the logics of morality and ethics. As such would be the argument of many slaves in America.
Even before God, it was a wrong practice to enslave somebody who is a human being and who has a right to live. In American society, they boast of liberty, national greatness, and celebrate of the achievements that leave many wounded and crying under the chains of slavery. At the same time, there were voices of religion that helped those whose freedom had been denied to realize that they had a share in the public sphere by means of the language of liberty and in this case they had the right to speak (Letwin, 2004). This was called the great awakening in America. In the face of the slaves, America is guilty of the practice of slavery and oppression along with the exploitation of those that are not Americans.
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A great realization of the paradox that existed in America made the blacks to ask for their freedom. In order to achieve freedom of which the state denied the blacks who happened to serve in the plantations, they escaped through underground railroads. There were the abolitionist movements who fought for the freedom of slaves since the law provided for freedom of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The slaves realized that they had been living in a nation that called for freedom yet making the blacks to remain under bondage. Justice was not exercised in this case and the freedom that was celebrated in America was only the freedom to the whites and not to the blacks. Rights of women were violated as they worked as much as men so long as they were past child bearing age (Trexler, 2008, p.237). The slaves were deprived of good education and living standards and the only thing they could get was to work in the plantations. In order to abolish slavery civil war broke between the south and the North as some opposed the abolition of slave trade (Fabre & Meally, 1994, p.85). .
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From the point of view of Frederick Douglass, 4th of July was nothing less than a day that the nation brought into view the oppressive practices that were directed to the American slaves. There was a lot of inhuman activities that were directed to the slaves despite the nation’s claim and celebration of independence. In this regard, the nation was unwilling to give the slaves the freedom of which they were aware of in their minds (McPherson, 1988, p.713). Although it was in mind, it was not given to them and as a result, they ended up escaping and striking in order that they may gain their freedom. In conclusion of his speech, Frederick Douglass said that the fourth of July revealed to the slaves the disgusting injustice and the brutality of which they remained to be victims. He also stated that the shouts of liberty and equality were a hollow mockery that only worsened the situation of the slaves.
Affirmatively, he accused the nation of being heartless and inhuman as they rejoiced while millions of slaves in the border grief under chains and heavy work of slavery .In cases when they disobey their masters the slaves are punished. If the Americans really reverence God as they give thanks and sing hymns on Fourth of July, they should give freedom to the slaves also. This is for the reason that even God judged nations like Babylon who oppressed and enslaved people (Letwin, 2004). The religious parades in the celebrations according to Frederick Douglass were just but a mere swagger, fraud, impiety, deception and hypocrisy that would cover up crimes of the nation and disgrace it.
Having brought into view what the fourth of July meant Frederick Douglass and to the founding fathers, conclusions can be drawn. The founding fathers meant it to be an independence of day of which liberty and equity in pursuing happiness would be realized. However, to the slaves, this was not the case because they remained as slaves even when freedom and liberty was declared. The freedom from oppression and subjection to heavy work was what the slaves were denied (McPherson, 1988). As a result it turned out to be a nation that covered itself with claims that it had liberty and justice for all but leaving the slaves under bondage.
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From a personal point of view, Independence Day for the American society did not necessarily mean freedom and equity as it was labelled. Instead, the freedom that was gained was only for whites who celebrated freedom at the expense of the blacks who remained under the oppression of the whites. From the historical point of view if the independence that was gained would have included the slaves, then there would be no cases of war arising in the issue of whether to release the slaves or not. The emancipation of slaves in America was such an issue that took time in order that it may be put in place. From this point it is justified to state just like Frederick Douglass that what freedom meant was far different from what was being observed. Fourth of July in America in the face of slaves had a double meaning in the sense that America was a free country whereby liberty and equity was found. However, the liberty and equity was like a dream to the American slaves who did not share of the freedom of which they too longed for.