Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass


Again, Douglass presents an argument here. Summarize that argument, then explain why you think Douglass added the appendix.

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In the Appendix, Douglass sought to clarify his views on religion. What he said about religion in the Narrative only applied to the "slaveholding religion of this land, and with no reference whatsoever to Christianity proper; for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference – so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked." The "religious pomp and show" of slaveholders' Christianity disgusted him. He loathed the fact that "we have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members." There was an incredible amount of hypocrisy and prevarication. Slaveholders denied slaves the opportunity to read the Bible, to keep their families intact, to learn the name of the God who made them, and more. The auctioneer's bell chimed at the same time as the church bell.

In the Appendix Douglass had to make sure to clarify his views on religion as to not alienate some of his readers with the assumption that he was critical of religion as a whole. He endeavored to demonstrate how the Christianity of white slaveholders was detrimental and how the Christianity of the slaves was more authentic and true to the spirit of the Gospel. Critic James Matlock observed that Douglass "appeals to the religious sensibilities of his audience throughout the Narrative. He shows his knowledge of the Bible, uses scriptural idiom, and give suitable professions of his own belief and his incredulity at the perversions of ostensible Christians." The Appendix cements this for his readers.