In the first paragraph Douglass writes, "By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, "What does Douglass mean in this statement? Then he states, "and it is the wish of most masters to keep their slaves thus ignorant." Why would most slaves masters want this?
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Douglas knew that keeping slaves ignorant was an effective way to control them. With education comes power and responsibility. If slaves could read and write they could break the shackles of slavery. They could express themselves, organize themselves and empower each other. Slave owners made a point of keeping their slaves in ignorance.