LOS ANGELES — PragerU’s latest 5-minute video titled “From Slave to Statesman” focuses on the story of the 19th-century American hero Frederick Douglass. Timothy Sandefur, author of Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man, articulates Douglass’ views of freedom and equality, and explains how Frederick Douglass helped shape America during a crucial time in history.
Born a slave in 1818, Frederick Douglass taught himself to read and later escaped to the Union North by pretending to be a Navy sailor. He joined the Abolitionist Movement, befriended Abraham Lincoln, rallied black Americans to fight for their freedom and later became a civil rights advocate until his death in 1895.
Douglass was well-known for his powerful writing skills and oration abilities and wielded both sharply as he fought against slavery. Once, when booed by white hecklers during a speech, he spoke off-script and challenged the American people to “live up to their own Constitution,” which he believed fundamentally upheld liberty for all and opposed slavery.
Sandefur stresses that Douglass “well understood the deep prejudice that existed, but he never accepted it as an inherent part of American culture.” Instead, Douglass encouraged people to take responsibility for their lives and stand up for themselves. He valued independence but explained that true independence relied on strong self-dependence. Douglass believed that American citizens could not be free until they could overcome adversity on their own. Freedom, Douglass argued, is won through hard work and earning a good education.
As a fighter for freedom and an advocate for equality, Douglass lived his life in pursuit of a clear goal. “My cause,” Douglass wrote, “was and is that of the black man; not because he is black, but because he is a man.”
According to Sandefur, Douglass believed “that true liberty would only come for Black Americans — as it comes for anyone — when they took full responsibility for their own fate.”
View Timothy Sandefur’s PragerU video here.
Timothy Sandefur is the Vice President of Litigation at the Goldwater Institute and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He has written numerous books including The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski, The Conscience of the Constitution, The Permission Society, and The Right to Earn a Living. Sandefur has partnered with PragerU to tell the story of Frederick Douglass, an American hero and a self-made man.
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PragerU, founded by Dennis Prager in 2011, is a not-for-profit organization that helps millions understand the values that shaped America and provides millions of Americans and people around the world with the intellectual ammunition they need to advocate for limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom. Since its founding, PragerU videos have received over 2 billion lifetime views. PragerU is a resource for all who value liberty. It is a threat to all those who do not.