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Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.
Slavery, regardless of whom is enslaved, is evil in one of its purest forms. In the United States we are most familiar with the enslavement of the African American – as we rightly should be – although the sin has been committed against men and women of all races across the world and throughout history. This is why Frederick Douglas quotes will always remain relevant.
It is estimated that one in ten North Koreans are currently enslaved by their dictatorship. India leads the world, so to speak, with over 18 million slaves, the vast majority of whom belong to the Dalit caste. And thanks to human trafficking, tens of thousands of people living in America are enslaved right now.
When you see your fellow man clad in chains, forced to work, and quite literally owned, it is easy to call them a slave. But whether or not the unfettered can also be deemed slaves depends on your worldview.
A slave is legal property who is forced into obedience. By that definition, could the entire population of North Korea be considered enslaved? Quite arguably, yes, and given that one must wonder at what point a government becomes its citizens’ master. If it extorts money from them in the name of taxation, drafts them to fight in foreign wars for profit, and imprisons them for viciously long amounts of time for minor, nonviolent infractions, at what point does the government’s actions become indistinguishable from the crack of a planter’s whip?
None of this is to assert that Americans or most people in other countries are slaves. To do so would be to make too little of the plight of slaves past and present. What I wish to point out is this: The writings of Frederick Douglass, one of our country’s most brilliant abolitionists, are not to be looked at solely through the lens of American history. Nearly any of the social reformer’s insights may be applied on a far grander scale as you ask yourself what it actually means to be free, and how the actions of your government can subject you to slavery – with your total complacency.
Best Frederick Douglass Quotes
Remember that Frederick Douglass quotes don’t only apply to the African American condition prior to the Thirteenth Amendment. They apply to anyone, so long as a greater force exists which would put them in bondage or force them to work for rewards they will never receive.