Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Visions of America Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
A representative could not be prouder of his election to a seat in the American Congress than a slave on one of the out-farms would be of his election to do errands at the Great House Farm. (2.7)
Being selected to work in the Great House Farm instead of the fields was seen to be a great honor for a slave, but Douglass is being ironic here. After all, even a slave in the Great House is still a slave. And even though America is a country where almost anyone could grow up to be president, the highest honor a slave could ever hope to attain is to be a servant in a slightly nicer part of the plantation.
In coming to a fixed determination to run away, we did more than Patrick Henry, when he resolved upon liberty or death. With us it was a doubtful liberty at most, and almost certain death if we failed. For my part, I should prefer death to hopeless bondage. (10.26)
Remember Patrick Henry? He was famous for saying "Give me liberty or give me death" during the Revolutionary War. In the preface, Garrison already compared Douglass to Patrick Henry, but when Douglass brings up the reference he's saying that he and his slave friends are even braver than one of the fathers of the country.