"No American can out-victimize Frederick Douglass." - KCarl Smith
TDI is dedicated to building a more prosperous America and improving our communities based on the Life-Empowering Values™ of Frederick Douglass. His writings and speeches about liberty, education, technology, economic prosperity, religious freedom, work ethic, the role of government, wealth confiscation, the U.S. Constitution and much more, are just as compelling and necessary today as they were when he wrote and spoke about them over 150 years ago.
Frederick Douglass' Life-Empowering Values™ are the common ground upon which Americans can learn from and agree upon.
Life-Empowering Values™ of Frederick Douglass
A slave for the first 20 years of his life, Frederick Douglass was born below poverty and rose from SLAVE to STATESMAN (adviser to five U.S. Presidents), and from POVERTY to PROSPERITY.
Between speaking fees, government appointments and investments, at the time of his death in 1895, Frederick Douglass amassed a small fortune of $300,000—more than $20 million dollars in today's money. What Douglass was able to achieve is possible for any person who is willing to work hard and not play the "victim card" as the reason for their failings. No American today can out-victimize Douglass—no one has started life so low and rose as high as Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass espoused the importance of economic prosperity in his speech Self-Made Men. He wrote:
"You have been accustomed to hear that money is the root of all evil, etc." . . . "On the other hand, property, money if you please, will purchase for us the only condition upon which any people can rise to the dignity of genuine manhood, for without property, there can be no leisure: without leisure, there can be no thought: without thought, there can be no invention: without invention there can be no progress."
The U.S. Constitution
Originally, Frederick Douglass shared the views of his former mentor, William Lloyd Garrison, denouncing the U.S. Constitution as a pro-slavery document, in light of the Three-Fifths Clause. Douglass later reversed his opinion after examining the U.S. Constitution and reading Lysander Spooner's book entitled, The Unconstitutionality of Slavery, 1845. Douglass wrote: "When I escaped from slavery, and was introduced to the Garrisonians, I adopted very many of their opinions, and defended them just as long as I deemed them true. I was young, had read but little, and naturally took some things on trust. Subsequent experience and reading have led me to examine for myself. This has brought me to other conclusions." Frederick Douglass viewed the U.S. Constitution as having "noble purposes, which were avowed in its preamble whose words about liberty rendered it an instrument that could be wielded in behalf of emancipation."
Frederick Douglass was a committed advocate for "school choice". In 1848, the Rochester Board of Education tried to force Frederick Douglass to send his nine-year-old daughter, Rosetta, to a poor performing black school. Like most parents, wanting the best for his child, Douglass enrolled Rosetta in one of the best private schools in the area, Seward Seminary. Upon attending school for a few days, little Rosetta was expelled because of the color of her skin.
In righteous indignation, Douglass wrote the following in a scathing letter to the principal: "I am also glad to inform you that you have not succeeded as you had hoped to do, in depriving my child of the means of a decent education, or the privileged of going to an excellent school."
Limited Power of Government
Frederick Douglass believed the purpose of government is to protect the freedom of opportunity for its citizens. He stated: " The first duty the National Government owes to its citizens is protection."
In addition, Douglass had this to say: "... what I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. "
Frederick Douglass advocated for self-sufficiency when he stated, "... And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!" "... your interference is doing positive injury."
Douglass also commented, "... I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."
“No right was deemed by the fathers of the Government more sacred than the right of speech,” said Frederick Douglass. In his article entitled, The Plea for Free Speech in Boston (1860), Frederick Douglass reminds us that free speech has the power to create freedom as well as maintain freedom once it is established. As Douglass stated, “Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one's thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power.”
“Slavery,” wrote Douglass, “cannot tolerate free speech.”
Give to preserve liberty and free market principles.