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Timothy Sandefur on Frederick Douglass

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
This episode originally was published on September 8, 2020, and reposted here on May 8, 2024.

Self in Society Podcast #19
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Timothy Sandefur, author of Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man (pdf), discusses Douglass's life, political philosophy, and influence in his day and up to the present.

Time Markers
00 Intro
0:59 Introduction to Frederick Douglass
2:23 Slavery as a total assault on the individual
5:07 What learning to read taught Douglass about slavery
7:15 Douglass’s early exposure to anti-slavery views
10:30 Abolition versus colonization
12:00 Douglass and the "slave breaker"
15:23 Christianity in the context of slavery and Abolition
18:20 Productive work and liberty
22:00 Self-Made Men
26:00 The debates over colonization
30:45 The issue of compensation
40:56 The shift from the view of slavery as a temporary evil to the Southern view of slavery as a positive good
46:29 The U.S. Constitution as an anti-slavery document
52:52 Douglass against pacifism
57:44 Why the Civil War was fought
1:03:41 The end of Reconstruction
1:06:07 Entrenched racism into the 20th Century
1:13:11 Douglass's influence on other Black leaders including Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois
1:18:57 Where is the film about Douglass?
1:21:13 Sandefur's work
1:23:20 Giving Douglass the final word

Frederick Douglass's Narrative and My Bondage and My Freedom are available digitally via Gutenberg. Also available there are Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery and W. E. B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk.

Sandefur offers a Douglass reading list. Sandefur also recommends Robert J. Norrell's Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington.

Sandefur wrote the essay, "How Libertarians Ought to Think about the U.S. Civil War."

Sandefur mentioned the films Glory and the Netflix miniseries Self Made, based on Madam C. J. Walker. He also mentioned the Ken Burns miniseries on the Civil War.

Sandefur quoted Lord Byron (this was obscured by bad connectivity); here's the fuller quote: "Hereditary bondsmen! know ye not, / Who would be free themselves must strike the blow? / By their right arms the conquest must be wrought?"

Timothy Sandefur works at the Goldwater Institute in Arizona. See the Institute's blog and Sandefur's personal blog.

See also my podcast episode with Sandefur about Jacob Bronowski.

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