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Frederick Douglass and the Atlantic World$
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Fionnghuala Sweeney

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781846310782

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846313141

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The Hidden Ireland: Social Commentary and Public Witness

The Hidden Ireland: Social Commentary and Public Witness

(p.70) Chapter 4 The Hidden Ireland: Social Commentary and Public Witness
Frederick Douglass and the Atlantic World
Liverpool University Press

This chapter, which investigates the means by which Frederick Douglass's American selfhood was finally accomplished, evaluates his association with his US audience and his role as an ambassador for Garrisonian abolitionism. It also examines the use of representations of the Irish peasantry and urban working class as objects of difference in Douglass's early writing. Douglass's time in Ireland was remarkable for the absence of any appeal across class lines to the peasant population or the urban working class. He was attracted to the temperance movement in Ireland. Apart from slavery, temperance was the only issue that Douglass immediately tackled. A fundamental concern in the Narrative was the mastery of the self. Douglass's visit to Ireland and Britain and the texts he developed there offered the ground of his Americanness. He revealed both the imaginary effect and problematic nature of the US experiment as a whole.

Keywords:   Frederick Douglass, American selfhood, United States, Garrisonian abolitionism, Irish peasantry, urban working class, Ireland, temperance movement, slavery, Britain

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