In simple words, the institution of slavery is based on supremacy and obedience. Douglass has been able to successfully demonstrate the inhuman patriarchal relationship that a master and slave shared before the eighteenth century. In his lecture at Rochester (December 8, 1850), he discussed the inhumanity of slavery in a very broader sense, not just discussing his own experience but validated his point of view by referring to the laws that the slave states adopted in their laws. According to him, slavery was not kindness but cruel practices that did not have any parental warmth. Instead, the slave states practiced slavery with harsh malignity in a continuous manner. In his lecture, he explained how slave states presented slaves as commercial commodities that were branded. For such reasons, the slaves preferred to deal with the atrocious curse of hunger and homelessness than to submit their minds and bodies to the so-called compassionate masters of that time.
The relationship between a master and slave was one of the most complex relations between two persons. It continuously produced a harsh/cruel and munificent/benign vibe at the same time. However, only a small number of people proved themselves as masters whose moral values were strong enough to treat their slaves as human beings and not animals. On the other hand, a majority of masters made the lives of their slaves difficult to such an extent that they had to improvise themselves according to the wills of their owners. However, it was because of this improvisation that the slaves were able to make an entire, uniquely distinctive culture of their own. To survive, slaves were forced to be adept improvisers, and this improvisation was the hallmark of their entire culture. One of the most remarkable things to mention here is that despite all the difficulties slaves encountered, they were able to survive with pride and dignity even when they were continuously challenged with persistent abuse and inhuman treatment.
Thus, it is a total inhuman practice too make someone one’s slave and then expect him/her to act upon one’s commands by surrendering his/her will. Douglass puts emphasis on the harsh reality that a slave finds it better to be caught by an animal than to be enslaved by a human. A slave yearns for independence so that he could drag out of the domination of the master. Douglass emphasizes on the notion that slavery has no abuses because it is an abuse itself. He asserts that if one has to keep a slave then it should be based on the power of morality and religion and not on cruelty and harshness. Slavery has always been an abuse as it absolutely and arbitrarily dominates the body and soul of another human being. Thus, Douglass completely rejects the idea that slavery can be practiced with kindness and compassion because it is a complex relationship whereby an individual is robbed of his/her family, home, income, friends, society, opportunities and everything that makes his/her life pleasing.
slavery from The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. N.p.: The Columbia University Press, 2012. Accessed April 15, 2013. http://www.questia.com/read/1E1-slavery/slavery.
Douglass, F. "My Bondage and Freedom by Frederick Douglass; 1855." The Avalon Project. Accessed April 15, 2013. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/douglas01.asp.
Robinson, W. "The Victims of Slavery Speak for Themselves." The Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 1998, p. B6. Accessed April 15, 2013. http://www.questia.com/read/1P2-32567886/the-victims-of-slavery-speak-for-themselves.