By Angelo Lopez on June 24, 2011
Frederick Douglass is best known as an abolitionist and a champion of African American rights. One of the most compelling orators of the nineteenth century, Douglass delivered countless abolitionist speeches and civil rights speeches to defend the African American community from slavery, discrimination and lynching. Frederick Douglass, though, did not fight for only the rights of African Americans. He fought for the human rights of all groups that he saw as being harassed or discriminated against and he involved himself in the great reform movements of his time. Douglass participated in the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 and signed the Declaration of Sentiments. He supported the labor movement, the temperance movement, and he fought against peonage. One of the little known facts about Frederick Douglass is his advocacy of equal rights for immigrants, especially Chinese laborers. In the book Ripples Of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches edited by Josh Gottheimer, I found a speech that Douglass made on December 7, 1869 attacking the discrimination and violence that Chinese immigrants were facing. In light of the controversy over immigrant rights today, we could draw lessons from Frederick Douglass's speech.
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By Angelo Lopez on June 3, 2011
Alexander Hamilton has always been the one Founding Father that I didn't like. There are many reasons for this. Two of my favorite Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, couldn't stand Hamilton. Though I am to the left of the political spectrum, I've always felt that some of the Left's criticism of the Founding Fathers are unfair. The criticism of the Left that the Founding Father's were capitalistic and imperialistic seems to apply though to Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was a supporter of a strong professional military and championed the North's merchant class, stock markets and a central banking system. While reading Ron Chernow's book Alexander Hamilton, though, I found out that Hamilton was a strong advocate for the abolition of slavery. During the 1780s, Hamilton was one of the founders of the New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves, which was instrumental in the abolition of slavery in the state of New York. After reading about Alexander Hamilton's work for the New York Manumission Society, I gained a greater appreciation of Alexander Hamilton.
Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis in the British West Indies in 1757, the illegitimate child of common-in-law couple James and Rachel Hamilton. James abandoned the family when Alexander was ten, and two years later, his mother Rachel died from an unspecified disease. After his mother died, Alexander Hamilton and his brother James were brought under the legal guardianship of their cousin Peter Lytton, who unfortunately committed suicide. During this chaotic childhood, Alexander Hamilton lived in poverty and was a social outcast due to his illegitimate birth. His intelligence was noticed though, and he soon lived with a respected merchant, Thomas Stevens and his wife, Ann.
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