Analysis of Slavery, Race, and the making of American Literature

Analysisof Slavery, Race, and the making of American Literature

Differentkinds of literature by prominent authors have had different opinionson the issue of slavery and racism. These issues have appeared invarious works of the American Literature. Authors often present theissues based on their opinions. In this paper, the cluster literatureof Thomas Jefferson, Phillis Wheatley, Martin Delany, and WilliamLloyd Garrison are analyzed.

ThomasJefferson starts his Notesof the State of Virginia withan extraordinarily long, almost relentless paragraph. He presentedthe black people as being inferior to the whites and leaves thequestion of race open for auxiliary experiential analysis (Baim etal., 24). He even dismisses the works of Phillis Wheatley bysuggesting that she was an influential religious writer, rather thana real poet.

PhillisWheatley, on the other hand, shows her compassion for Africa’spagan religions. In her literature OnBeing Brought from Africa to America, Phillisadvises the whites that the blacks and the whites are equal beforethe eyes of God. She insists that the blacks should not be taken asslaves on the account of their social and economic inferiority.

WilliamLloyd was another literature writer who spoke out against slaverythrough his newspaper TheLiberator. Lloydspoke boldly of how he would crusade for the emancipation of theslaves, and the rewarding of free slaves with citizenship, and theright to vote. He used the editorial to challenge his opponents anddevelopedliterature that stood firm against the issue of slavery in America.

MartinDelany in his book, ABlack Nationalist Manifesto,of 1854 clearly portrayed his development of literature for advocacyof black separatism and emigration in the 19thCentury. Martin wrote of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism as away of uplifting the status of blacks in the United States (Baim etal., 69). He advocated for the separation of the races, and theformation of a government for the blacks.

Thefour American authors of literature on issues of slavery and racespresent a different view on the two subjects. Different opinions havebeen used in the development of American literature on issues ofslavery and races. Some authors supported slavery while others stoodfirmly against it.


Baym,Nina, and Robert S. Levine. TheNorton Anthology of American Literature.New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. Print.