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A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass$
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Neil Roberts

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813175621

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813175621.001.0001

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Frederick Douglass and the Rule of Law

(p.324) 11 Law-breaker
A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass

Anne Norton

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter goes over the history of Fredrick Douglass’s early life, especially his fight with and escape from Edward Covey, the slave breaker. It starts with his birth on Maryland’s treacherous Eastern Shore and delves into his time as a slave and the time he was forced to serve Covey. It chronicles his escape from slavery in a context of uncertainty as well as some of the interesting views that derived from his ability to read and educate himself. The chapter then goes on to show how Douglass’s background as a law-breaker informed his political views and how lawbreaking contributes to slaves’ process of becoming free. Douglass recognized the imperative authority of the law while understanding that each individual has sovereignty over himself or herself.

Keywords:   Frederick Douglass, sovereignty, uncertainty, law, jurisprudence, lawbreaking, slaves, slavery, Edward Covey, Eastern Shore

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