Oration In Memory Of Abraham Lincoln

by Frederick Douglass

Delivered at the Unveiling of the
Freedmen's Monument in Memory of
Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln Park

Washington, D.C., April 14, 1876

Discussion Questions

1. What is the occasion for Douglass's oration and why does he think it is such an important occasion for people of his race?

2. Why does Douglass say that Lincoln was the white man's president whose primary concern was for the white race?

3. What evidence does Douglass present that Lincoln was hostile to the black race?

4. Why does Douglass conclude that Lincoln ultimately deserves the greatest praise from African Americans?

5. Why does Douglass believe that Lincoln's prejudices were ultimately a good thing?

6. What is the significance of Lincoln's death, according to Douglass?

Paper Topics
1. Douglass's speech is directed to both a white and a black audience. What lessons does he wish to teach to each?

2. Must people have the same principles and interests in order to form a political union? Is the purpose of politics to recognize or overcome differences?

3. What does Douglass's oration tell us about the character of political leadership? Are there limits to what a political leader can accomplish? What are the qualities most necessary for a leader? In what ways do both Douglass and Lincoln exhibit those qualities?

Oration Reading

Guide to unit 4

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