Fallacies in frederick douglass the article

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Famous, Persuasive, Slavery, Speech

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Douglass asks, “Must I take on to provide evidence that the slave is a person? That point is conceded already. Nobody questions it” (Douglass, 1852). Nevertheless , this assertion was not really true; the humanity of blacks was obviously a seriously debated point too period of time. This individual repeats this kind of phrase in two more phrases, “For the present it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race” and “the male organ of the slave is conceded” (Douglass, 1852). Furthermore, he provides a significant amount of evidence that supports his proposition, although those transactions only highlight his round argument, because he always starts not with the proposition that a slave is human, good results . the idea that nobody doubts that slaves will be human.

The 3rd fallacy that Douglass employs is the charm to belief. “Appeal to Belief is a fallacy that has this basic pattern: Many people believe that a claim, Back button, is true. For that reason X is valid. This brand of ‘reasoning’ can be fallacious as the fact that many people believe a claim does not, generally, serve as evidence that the state is true” (Nizkor Task, Description of appeal to belief, 2011). Douglass says, “There is not a gentleman beneath the canopy of nirvana who does not know that slavery is wrong for him” (Douglass, 1852). However , that is not mean that captivity is automatically wrong. For instance , the same declaration could be created from prisoners, however the majority of the population would argue that prison is appropriate for bad guys.

To a modern day audience, Frederick Douglass’ well-known speech the Hypocrisy of American Slavery, which will he shipped after being asked of talking on the 4th of This summer, seems like an affordable argument against the practice of slavery, which can be now ruined worldwide. Yet , it is important to bear in mind that Douglass was not talking with a modern market, but a country where roughly half of persons supported the institution of slavery. This kind of audience would have been very aware of any kind of errors in Douglass’ disagreement. In his speech, he applied three rational fallacies, which will actually destabilized his very strong condemnation of slavery. This individual used an ad hominem fallacy when suggesting that God would never approve a great inhumane practice like slavery; a begging the question argument when he advised that no one doubts that slaves happen to be men; and an appeal to opinion when indicating that because slaves all find slavery objectionable, it ought to be morally wrong. These fights would not had been persuasive to the people who were used the idea of slavery, given that the inhumanity of slaves and divine providence were two common fights people produced in favor of slavery. Nevertheless , for a group that supported Douglass, these kinds of fallacies will not have been since evident, because they would took the claims as true without requiring Douglass to support all of them.


Douglass, F. (1852, July 4). The Hypocrisy of American Slavery. Retrieved Feb 20, 2012

from the History Place website: http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/douglass.htm

The Nizkor Project. (2011). Explanation of advertisement hominem. Recovered February twenty, 2012 via http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html

The Nizkor Project. (2011). Explanation of charm to opinion. Retrieved March 20, 2012 from http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-belief.html

The Nizkor Project. (2011). Description of begging the question. Retrieved February 20, 2012

from http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/begging-the-question.html

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