A Glorious Liberty: Frederick Douglass and the Fight for an Antislavery Constitution

November 30, 2020
A Glorious Liberty: Frederick Douglass and the Fight for an Antislavery Constitution

In this timely and provocative book, Damon Root reveals howFrederick Douglass's fight for an antislavery Constitution helpedto shape the course of American history in the nineteenth centuryand beyond. At a time when the principles of the Constitution andDeclaration of Independence were under assault, Frederick Douglasspicked up their banner, championing inalienable rights for all,regardless of race. When Americans were killing each other on thebattlefield, Douglass fought for a cause greater than the merepreservation of the Union. "No war but an Abolition war," hemaintained. "No peace but an Abolition peace." In the aftermath ofthe Civil War, when state and local governments were violating therights of the recently emancipated, Douglass preached theimportance of "the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box"in the struggle against Jim Crow.Frederick Douglass, the former slave who had secretly taughthimself how to read, would teach the American people a thing or twoabout the true meaning of the Constitution. This is the story of afundamental debate that goes to the very heart of America'sfounding ideals—a debate that is still very much with us today.