Friday, July 10, 2009

Frederick Douglass

As fate would have it, the last time these two American friends saw each other was on the occasion of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. Douglass listened to the speech with the crowd and thought it contained some "brave good words." Afterward, he went to the Executive Mansion to attend the reception, but was not allowed to enter. When he sent word to Lincoln that he was being detained, the president ordered that he be admitted. Douglass found Lincoln in the elegant East Room, standing "like a mountain his grand simplicity, and home-like beauty." Lincoln said, "Here comes my friend," and took Douglass by the hand. "I am glad to see you," said the president. Then he asked Douglass how he liked his address, for "there is no man in the country whose opinion I value more than yours." Douglass famously said, in words that aptly sum up the work to which their lives had been devoted, "Mr. Lincoln, that was a sacred effort." --Peter W. Schramm, Douglass and Lincoln, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2008, review of 'Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln', by John Stauffer, and 'Frederick Douglass: Race and the Rebirth of American Liberalism', by Peter C. Meyers

Douglass was much drawn to Locke’s central premise, that man possesses inherent liberty “to dispose of his person or possessions,” and its corollary, that man’s work is what gives him title to ownership. --George McKenna, Someone’s Property, First Things, August/September 2008, review of Frederick Douglass: Race and the Rebirth of American Liberalism, by Peter C. Myers

The many lives of Frederick Douglass, by James W. Tuttleton, The New Criterion, February 1994

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