We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Frederick Douglass

freedom's voice, 1818-1845

Gregory P. Lampe

Publication Year: 1998

This work in the MSU Press Rhetoric and Public Affairs Series chronicles Frederick Douglass's preparation for a career in oratory, his emergence as an abolitionist lecturer in 1841, and his development and activities as a public speaker and reformer from 1841 to 1845. Lampe's meticulous scholarship overturns much of the conventional wisdom about this phase of Douglass's life and career uncovering new information about his experiences as a slave and as a fugitive; it provokes a deeper and richer understanding of this renowned orator's emergence as an important voice in the crusade to end slavery. 
     Contrary to conventional wisdom, Douglass was well prepared to become a full-time lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1841. His emergence as an eloquent voice from slavery was not as miraculous as scholars have led us to believe. Lampe begins by tracing Douglass's life as slave in Maryland and as fugitive in New Bedford, showing that experiences gained at this time in his life contributed powerfully to his understanding of rhetoric and to his development as an orator. An examination of his daily oratorical activities from the time of his emergence in Nantucket in 1841 until his departure for England in 1845 dispels many conventional beliefs surrounding this period, especially the belief that Douglass was under the wing of William Lloyd Garrison. Lampe's research shows that Douglass was much more outspoken and independent than previously thought and that at times he was in conflict with white abolitionists. 
     Included in this work is a complete itinerary of Douglass's oratorical activities, correcting errors and omissions in previously published works, as well as two newly discovered complete speech texts, never before published.


Published by: Michigan State University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (29.2 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (322.9 KB)
pp. vii-xiii

ON 3 SEPTEMBER 1838 an unknown slave, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, escaped Maryland slavery. The twenty-year-old fugitive fled first to New York City and then to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he changed his last name to Douglass. Three years later, he emerged on the public platform ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (68.1 KB)
pp. xv-xvi

THE RESEARCHING AND WRITING of this book has been a cooperative enterprise, and I hope all who have helped but are not named will know how deeply grateful I am. Archivists and librarians have been especially helpful in uncovering and gathering materials. ...

read more

Chapter One: Frederick Douglass’ Maryland Plantation Education: His Discovery of Oratory

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 1-32

ON 12 AUGUST 1841, after delivering his first speeches before a predominantly white abolitionist audience at Nantucket's Atheneum Hall, Frederick Douglass was invited to become a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Concerned with any publicity that could expose him to discovery and arrest by his master, ...

read more

Chapter Two: Frederick Douglass’ New Bedford Experience: Oratory, Preaching, and Abolitionism, September 1838-July 1841

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 33-56

HAVING ESCAPED FROM the grasp of slavery, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey fled first to New York City, and then to New Bedford, Massachusetts. Although the three years Douglass spent in New Bedford have received relatively little attention from his biographers,1 they were of incalculable importance ...

read more

Chapter Three: The Emergence of an Orator from Slavery: Southern Slavery, Northern Prejudice, and the Church, August - December 1841

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 57-96

WRITING IN 1883, esteemed abolitionist Parker Pillsbury appropriately described the antislavery meetings in New Bedford and Nantucket, Massachusetts, during August 1841 as "memorable in anti-slavery history." l It was during these meetings that the Garrisonian abolitionists uncovered a remarkable new voice ...

read more

Chapter Four: Oratory of Power and Eloquence: From Local Notoriety to Regional Prominence, January - August 1842

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 97-134

AFTER COMPLETING the tumultuous lecture tour of Rhode Island in December 1841, Frederick Douglass returned to Massachusetts a seasoned veteran of the abolitionist crusade and an emerging leader within the antislavery movement. His probationary period as a lecturer had expired in November 1841, and his growing ...

read more

Chapter Five: Tumultuous Times: Douglass as Abolitionist Orator, Agitator, Reformer, and Optimist, August 1842 - June 1843

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 135-170

AS FREDERICK DOUGLASS' oratorical reputation increased during the first half of 1842, so did the demand for his services. The period from August 1842 through June 1843 was one of intense agitation and antislavery activity, the likes of which he had not experienced during his brief career as an abolitionist lecturer. ...

read more

Chapter Six: The Hundred Conventions Tour of the West: Independence and Restlessness, June-December 1843

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 171-206

THE HUNDRED CONVENTIONS tour of the West was a milestone in the development of abolitionist rhetoric. Garrisonian abolitionists intended to awaken northern sympathy and arouse the national conscience by holding a series of 100 antislavery conventions that included meetings in Vermont, New York, Ohio, Indiana, ...

read more

Chapter Seven: The Hundred Conventions Tour of Massachusetts: Torrents of Eloquence, January -May 1844

pdf iconDownload PDF (901.3 KB)
pp. 207-226

THE HUNDRED CONVENTIONS tour of the West was so successful that in January 1844 the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society decided a similar campaign should be organized to canvass the central counties of Massachusetts. The leadership of the society planned to carry out approximately 100 conventions ...

read more

Chapter Eight: No Union With Slaveholders: The Proslavery Character of the United States Constitution, May-August 1844

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 227-254

IN EARLY MAY 1844, Frederick Douglass returned home to Lynn from western Massachusetts. Now that the Hundred Conventions tour of Massachusetts had come to an end, Douglass would enter into another important period of antislavery agitation. Although overlooked by most Douglass scholars, ...

read more

Chapter Nine: Douglass the Imposter: I Am a Slave, September 1844- August 1845

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 255-286

SINCE THE GENESIS of his career as a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1841, Frederick Douglass' fame as an eloquent fugitive slave had steadily increased and his oratory had constantly advanced in sophistication and power. It is no surprise, then, that people began to question ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (213.7 KB)
pp. 287-292

IN BRINGING HIS 1892 Life and Times of Frederick Douglass to a close, Frederick Douglass admitted to having lived "several lives in one: first, the life of slavery; secondly, the life of a fugitive from slavery; thirdly, the life of comparative freedom; fourthly, the life of conflict and battle; and fifthly, the life of victory, ...

Appendix A: Douglass’ Speaking Itinerary: 1839-1845

pdf iconDownload PDF (387.9 KB)
pp. 293-308

Appendix B: Frederick Douglass in Behalf of George Latimer. Lynn, Massachusetts, November 8th, 1842.

pdf iconDownload PDF (213.8 KB)
pp. 309-314

Appendix C: No Union With Slaveholders: An Address Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts, 28 May 1844

pdf iconDownload PDF (209.8 KB)
pp. 315-320

Appendix D: The Progress of the Cause: An Address Delivered in Norristown, Pennsylvania, 12 August 1844

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.9 KB)
pp. 321-322


pdf iconDownload PDF (609.2 KB)
pp. 323-340


pdf iconDownload PDF (391.3 KB)
pp. 341-350

E-ISBN-13: 9780870139338
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870134807

Page Count: 350
Publication Year: 1998