Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Letter to the Editor"

Conner Lewis
AP US History 8
"Letter to the Editor"

Dear Editor,

          I write to you today with a heavy heart and an agitated conscious. I have always considered myself an advocate of the people, man or woman, white or black, but what I have just learned has opened my eyes upon the disparity between the treatment of slaves and freemen such as ourselves. Fortune has seen me born into a well-to-do family of New York, and as such the faculties of slavery were known but not truly grasped by my mind. However, I recently read the works of one Frederick Douglass, particularly his "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass", which has revealed to me the barbarity of this old institution.
          For one, the extent to which slaves are deprived of not just the unalienable rights of our great nation, but those rights so basic that even beasts can boast them, sickens me to the core. The rights I am referring to are those of family, particularly Douglass' account of how he was taken from his mother at nearly twelve months old, deprived of true motherly contact. I believe that this practice infringes on not only our liberties but our very nature as communal beings. No beast, bird, or any other creature that stalks the earth can boast such a barbaric practice. In this regard, slaveholders have taken a step to reduce their very worth as men, treating other humans worse than beasts, and the fact that this occurred not in the South, but in our belovéd New England sickens me all the more.
           Douglass discusses that slaves are torn from their friends and family often, severing any true ties which may develop between men of the same circumstance, and further reducing a slave's ability to experience the virtues we Americans hold so dear. What concerns me is the role which the faith plays into this depravity. While I consider myself an intellectual of sorts, personal history inclines me to believe in the power of faith, however upon reading of the corruption of morals and doctrine used to justify the institution of slavery I begin to question if the side of the pious is also that of the virtuous. To display such hypocrisy, espousing morals of familial ties and virtuous action while at the same time depriving fellow men of these ties and performing wicked acts upon them displays a weak character unfit to lead anything, much less the faith.
           Slavery's continued existence has shown the corruption of values not just within the slaveholders, who deprive men of rights basic to all life, but also within our very society, as even the supposedly righteous figures in our country, such as those of the faith, see fit to deprive slaves of the rights which they then espouse as key to righteous and happy existence. Although I long espoused the abolition of the barbaric institution of slavery, Douglass' novel has acted to give an account of slavery too vivid to ignore, and one which is instrumental in raising awareness for our cause.

Thank You,
Conner J. Lewis

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