ADVANTAGES

At a church meeting in New Bedford in 1839, Douglass made his first speech denouncing colonization and deportation of black slaves. He remained a fervent foe of such schemes and a proponent of integration for the rest of his life. He soon fell into the circle of William Lloyd Garrison and the American Anti-Slavery Society. He eventually broke with Garrison and the Society over their opposition to any kind of political involvement and their condemnation of the Constitution. Like Mr. Lincoln, Douglass felt the Constitution should be a protection against, rather than a sanction for slavery. For years, first under the auspices of the Society and then under his own sponsorship, he toured the U.S., Ireland, Scotland and England speaking against slavery. Later, he formed his own newspaper, the North Star (later Frederick Douglass’ Paper) and moved his family to Rochester, NY. (In the mid-1840s, his freedom had been purchased by white friends from his former master in order to guarantee his freedom of movement since as a fugitive slave he was subject to arrest). In his paper in 1851, he wrote that the Constitution “construed in the light of well established rules of legal interpretation, might be made consistent with the noble purposes avowed in his preamble” and called for the Constitution to be “wielded in behalf of emancipation.”1

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