There are three major items involved in Frederick Douglass's critique of enslavement—moral suasion, political abolitionism, and violent resistance. They are interrelated and comprise his critique. But ever since Angela Davis's use of existential philosophy to interpret Douglass's critique, the focus of existential readings on Douglass has been exclusively and constantly on the item of violent resistance, specifically Douglass's fight with Covey. The three items wholly derive their importance solely from this fight, according to the existential reading. Contrary to that reading, this paper shall argue that a reading of Douglass's critique should endorse a normative coordination, through practical reason, of the three items rather than an existential priority of the fight with Covey over the other two.

You do not currently have access to this content.