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What the American Woman Wants and What the Black Man Wants

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The 1800’s were hard times for those who weren’t white males. Every other human being was basically considered a minority including American woman and African Americans. There came a point where the minority groups had enough of their voices being ignored which is when fearless leaders in each group appeared. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Fredrick Douglas were the brave souls of their groups. Douglas and Stanton were leaders of two different minorities but fought for similar causes, with the powerful use of metonymy, invection, and allusions their cry for equality ignited a spark that hasn’t let out to this day.

As Douglas and Stanton made their speeches in front of the white males in power they both made sure to let them know they were one voice out of many who felt the same way by using metonymy. Stanton tells her audience ,“But we are assembled to protest against a form of government existing without the consent of the governed—to declare our right to be free as man is free…”(Stanton 8). Douglas tells his audience, “We all feel, in the existence of this rebellion, that judgments terrible…and we feel, in view of these judgments, just now, a disposition to learn righteousness” (Douglas 37). When they say “we” or “our”, words that mean more than one person, lets their audience know they are not alone. They speak on behalf of everyone in their minority group and intend on making a change together. Their use of metonymy gives strength to their speeches because they sound unified and strong. Working together will help them gain what they are fighting for much easier than fighting the battle for equality on their own.

In order to speak in front of an audience, who will be the only one to determine the faith of your argument, you have to be brave but also speak with an invective tone to make sure they know you are not leaving until a change is done. Douglas and Stanton both use this tone which makes their speeches for equality so much more entertaining all while making their purpose so much stronger. Douglas tells his audience, “certainly it means that, if it means anything; and when any individual or combination of individuals undertakes to decide for any man when he shall work, where he shall work, at what he shall work, and for what he shall work, he or they practically reduce him to slavery” (Douglas 18). Douglas got applauses for his very excellent point on how free blacks are suppressed from their rights. Stanton talked to her audience about the limitations that are put on honorable woman while disgraceful men had all their rights, “but to have drunkards, idiots, horse racing, rum-selling rowdies, ignorant foreigners, and silly boys fully recognized, while we ourselves are thrust out from all the rights that belong to citizens, it is too grossly insulting to the dignity of woman to be longer quietly submitted to” (Stanton 33). Both use invection to a point where it lets them firmly make their point but doesn’t completely insult or negatively impact the audience.

Allusions made in each speech make their purpose so much more real and relevant. Douglas especially makes plenty of allusions that reference to places, specific people and laws. “I look over this country at the present time, and I see educational societies, sanitary commissions, freedmen’s associations and the like—all very good: but in regard to the colored people there is always more that is benevolent” (Douglas). He names associations of the time that were made to help citizens but he notes how most to them are useless for the colored. The associations prove how the colored don’t have a place to express their issues therefore are denied their voice to be heard. Stanton says, “The right no one pretends to deny.We need not prove ourselves equal to Daniel Webster to enjoy this privilege” (Stanton). Stanton knows she is correct to fight for woman’s right equality. When they mentioned recognizable people and things their argument became easier to familiarize with and easier for their audience to be persuaded to agree with their argument.

Stanton and Douglas have proven that with only mere words a change can be done. They could have chosen to voice their arguments in a violent manner but didn’t because they knew words were their most powerful weapon. Although they fought for different minority groups their situations were similar. They both faced inequality in the white man’s world and wished to change that. They fought a long battle to get their people to have rights and equality in the land of the free. With the excellent use of invection, allusions and metonym they were able to captivate their audience into realizing all the rights they truly deserve.

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