This week I added to my original rough sketch...it's a bit longer but still has work to be done....
After being asked to speak on Independence Day, Douglass refused; his pride would not allow him to partake in such a pathetically ignorant holiday. He did however speak the next day; then, he illustrated his separation from the holiday--while they were "free" from Great Britain, his brothers still remained enslaved. He assures them, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine." Douglass uses effective rhetoric in order to persuade reluctant listeners on a controversial issue. He uses Aristotle's means of persuasion: pathos, ethos and logos in order to make his argument rational.
It is important to note that a rhetorical audience only consists of those persons who are willing to be influenced by verbal or visual discourse, or otherwise persuaded. With that, Douglass must appeal to his listeners and find a common ground so that there may be an understanding. Here, he proves his rhetorical genius; he emphasizes his humble respect for the Founding Fathers whom "white Americans" hold in the highest regard, by declaring, "They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitation against oppression...they believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny." With that, he was able to reach across lines to whites who could "act themselves or influenc[e] others who can create change" (Chapter 5 p.114). Next, he takes their concerns and applies it to his cause--"What to the slave is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim." His use of the term "I" and "you" is particularly interesting; often, speakers use the grammatical person of "we" in order to include their audience in a common cause. In this case, Douglass separates himself but his desire to become a member of the audiences' social body is evident--and that is what makes his effort effective. In doing so, appeals to human emotion and illustrates that "[he] is not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary...justice, liberty, and independence is shared by you, not by me" (40).
Likewise, Douglass benefits from situated ethos, meaning his credibility is already bolstered by his reputation and position in the community. He had first-hand experience of "abject misery in slavery" and by the end of his life, had been an adviser to three presidents, including Abraham Lincoln (38).
Douglass understood persuasion as we do: "a coming together, a meeting of minds" (Chapter 5 p.97). He understood that the mutual understanding was required in the country as a whole. Never did he call for any dissolution of the Union; rather, he expressed hope, "the eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is still young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence." Despite his unquestionably difficult constraints, he sought to overcome his repression in the eyes of justice.
Let me know if you guys have any suggestions!