Frederick Douglass; My Bondage and My Freedom


In My Bondage and My Freedom, Frederick Douglass argues that slavery was an institution that “victimized” everyone – slaves, slave holders, and non-slave holding whites alike. How can he make such a claim considering the brutality of slavery?

This is an argumentative paper. It is essential that you provide a thesis statement (argument). In writing this paper you are required to engage readings from My Bondage and My FreedomSFA Readings, as well as lecture materials. It is expected that you will prove proficiency in the course materials and demonstrate the ability to synthesize and analyze these materials in support of your thesis.


· DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please refer to our policy statement on the syllabus concerning academic dishonesty. It is guaranteed that if you plagiarize at the very least you will fail the paper.

· Papers should use the MLA format for citations (see below).

· Papers should provide a works cited page at the end of the paper.

· This paper is to be 2-3 pages in length. Two FULL pages minimum.

· Use a 12-point font. Make sure there is a one-inch margin on each side. Double space the text and number your pages.

· You must have a cover page. On this cover page, in the upper left-hand side and single spaced, put your name, section number, Paper 1, and date the paper is due. Your name or other identifying information should NOT appear anywhere else on your paper.

· Each student is required to submit a copy of her/his paper in Blackboard. To submit a paper, log into eCampus and click on the PAPER ASSIGNMENTS tab. You will find a place to upload your paper.

· Your thesis should appear in bold.

· All sources must come from the materials covered in the class – so no outside sources.

· Do not use personal pronouns (I, me, you, etc.). Do not use contractions (don’t, can’t, won’t, etc.).

· If you fail to follow the above formatting, you will be deducted 2.5 points on the final grade.

· For every day a paper is late, 2.5 points will be deducted from the final grade of your paper.

· Do not string massive quotes together and call it a paper. Do not put quotes around two to four words and consider it an appropriate quote. Quotes can not stand alone as they belong to someone or something. So, be sure to contextualize and introduce any quotes you may use.

· Use parenthetical citations for directly quoted and paraphrased material. For example:

1. Use of lecture material:

“If you could visualize colonialism, it would look something like a giagantic factory…” (Pettengill 1-19-2010).

In this example you are citing the lecture by putting the last name of the instructor followed by the date the lecture was given.

2. Use of DTA material (whether it be quoted, referenced – acknowledging argument, etc. – or paraphrased:

John Winthrope, a Puritan immigrant from England, believed that Europeans had a legitimate right to the land in America (Yazawa 32-34).

In this example there is a selective use of material. It is contextualized – the author and the document from which the quote (or argument if you were to note the argument) has been introduced. The citation is properly located at the end of the sentence. Instead of citing the author of the document, you are to cite the editor of DAH – Yazawa – and the page number where we can find your quotation.

AGAIN, quote selectively. You should only quote that which is best said by the author and which both supports your argument as well as moves your paper forward.

3. Your use of Douglass’ My Bondage and My Freedom will follow the same model for parenthetical citation. You will cite the author and the page number upon which the cited/referenced material can be found. Ex. (Douglass 110)

4. If you are speaking specifically about a document from DTA – pointing to a specific piece of text – you should cite the pages of the document. Ex:

“What Right do we Have to the Land,” John Winthrope justifies European expansion by saying God wanted Englishmen to have the land, because He had leveled a vicious plague on the Native population (Yazawa 32).

5. You will not find a specific page(s) to identify Douglass’ argument in My Bondage and My Freedom. However, it is expected that from your reading you will be able to determine what his argument is. You will be expected to articulate this argument in your paper. When you do this you are not expected to cite any page numbers. It is expected that you will introduce your statement of his argument. Ex.

In My Bondage and My Freedom, Frederick Douglass argues that ……….

· All citations come at the end of the sentence.

· Please see me (sooner rather than later) if you need guidance in focusing your paper.

Please keep in mind the following (as we will be when grading your paper):

In order to do well on this paper, you have to include your thoughts on the topic (in other words – analyze the material) – do not just summarize the material. You can do this without saying, “In my opinion …” or “I think …” etc. You must demonstrate that you have critically thought about the material alone and in conversation with each other.

Develop a clear argument in which you fully respond to the topic. Be sure to address all the elements of your thesis in the paper.

Again, demonstrate knowledge of the course material. Any quotations or paraphrased material should be brief and utilized appropriately.

Analyze and interpret texts in a manner that conveys the meaning of the entire text. Why is it important to your argument? Make sure you use these materials to back your claims, not just to meet the page requirement.

The usual standards of good writing are required. This includes accurate spelling (especially of proper names), complete sentences, correct grammar and punctuation.

Clarity and good writing are essential. Avoid broad statements or over-generalization of ideas.

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