Douglass, Frederick

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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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"There was a right side and a wrong side in the late war, which no sentiment ought to cause us to forget, and while to-day we should have malice toward none, and charity toward all, it is no part of our duty to confound right with wrong."

Frederick Douglass, 1878.

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Parrott Gun

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The address he gave in Rochester on July 5, 1852 is probably my favorite speech of all time.

"Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery Ñ the great sin and shame of America! "I will not equivocate; I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just."

Here's a link to the whole thing.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2927t.html
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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"We are sometimes asked in the name of partiotism to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation's life, and those who struck to save it-those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice. I am no minister of malice..., I would not repel the repentant, but...

may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I forget the difference between the parties to that...bloody conflict."
Frederick Douglass, Address at the grave of the Unknown Dead, Arlington, Virginia, May 30, 1871.

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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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"Every monument built in memory of the Confederacy will perpetuate that which it would be more creditable in the actors to desire to have forgotten... If it is not to reawaken the conflict, by cultivating hatred against the Government, that these monuments are built, there is little or no purpose in their erection. Monuments to the 'lost cause' will prove monuments of folly, both in the memories of wicked rebellion which they must necessarily perpetuate, and in the failure to accomplish the particular purpose had in view by those who build them. It is a needless record of stupidity and wrong."
Frederick Douglass, New National Era, December 1, 1870.
 
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godofredus

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Great quotes. Thank you for posting them. As an old liberal I am fond of the quote traced to Polish rebels talking about Rooshins: A people that oppresses another can never be free.
 
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AndyHall

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On Decoration Day 1871, at the Monument to the Unknown Soldiers of the Civil War at Arlington National Cemetery:

We are sometimes asked, in the name of patriotism, to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation’s life and those who struck to save it, those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice.

I am no minister of malice. I would not strike the fallen. I would not repel the repentant; but may my “right hand forget her cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” if I forget the difference between the parties to that terrible, protracted, and bloody conflict.

If we ought to forget a war which has filled our land with widows and orphans; which has made stumps of men of the very flower of our youth; which has sent them on the journey of life armless, legless, maimed and mutilated; which has piled up a debt heavier than a mountain of gold, swept uncounted thousands of men into bloody graves and planted agony at a million hearthstones — I say, if this war is to be forgotten, I ask, in the name of all things sacred, what shall men remember?

The essence and significance of our devotions here to-day are not to be found in the fact that the men whose remains fill these graves were brave in battle. If we met simply to show our sense of bravery, we should find enough on both sides to kindle admiration. In the raging storm of fire and blood, in the fierce torrent of shot and shell, of sword and bayonet, whether on foot or on horse, unflinching courage marked the rebel not less than the loyal soldier.

But we are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation’s destroyers. If today we have a country not boiling in an agony of blood, like France, if now we have a united country, no longer cursed by the hell-black system of human bondage, if the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.​
 

Diana9

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Frederick Douglass on Lincoln:

"Few great public men have ever been the victims of fiercer denunciation than Abraham Lincoln was during his administration. He was often wounded in the house of his friends. Reproaches came thick and fast upon him from within and from without, and from opposite quarters. He was assailed by Abolitionists; he was assailed by slave-holders; he was assailed by the men who were for peace at any price; he was assailed by those who were for a more vigorous prosecution of the war; he was assailed for not making the war an abolition war; and he was bitterly assailed for making the war an abolition war.

But now behold the change: the judgment of the present hour is, that taking him for all in all, measuring the tremendous magnitude of the work before him, considering the necessary means to ends, and surveying the end from the beginning, infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln."

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/oration-in-memory-of-abraham-lincoln/
 
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CW3O

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"We are sometimes asked in the name of partiotism to forget the merits of this fearful struggle, and to remember with equal admiration those who struck at the nation's life, and those who struck to save it-those who fought for slavery and those who fought for liberty and justice. I am no minister of malice..., I would not repel the repentant, but...

may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I forget the difference between the parties to that...bloody conflict."


UB,

Never see this quote before, don't normally cruise politically oriented threads, but this caught my attention and captured my basic feeling about this war very concisely, 100+ years before I thought it.

Climb to Glory
 
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