Comparing Harriet Tubman And Fredrick Douglass Essay


The Lives of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman

Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman are two of the most famous African Americans in history.  Both were prominent abolitionists who escaped slavery and helped lead numerous other slaves to freedom during the time of the Civil War.  Although Douglass and Tubman share many similarities, they also have some differences between them, such as in the way in which they escaped slavery. 

In a well-developed essay, compare and contrast Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, explaining their similarities and differences.  Provide facts and examples to support your comparisons.

Sample paper

Comparing Harriet Tubman And Fredrick Douglass Essay

Differences between Douglass and Tubman

Frederick Douglass in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman in her work and publications such as the road to freedom, both wrote about their lives as slaves in America telling very compelling stories.  As with many other slaves, they both shared a vision of opportunity, and that vision drove them through numerous comparable, yet unique deterrents. Despite the fact that both Douglass and Tubman persevered through numerous hardships in their attempt to get freedom as a slave, sex affected the route in which their servitude was experienced. There were a wide range of routes in which educational encounters for Tubman, who was a female slave, contrasted from Douglass who was a subjugated male.

Douglass felt it was an imperative need to be literate.  When his mistress, Mrs. Auld, first taught him to read and then his master, Mr. Auld, objected to this, this showed Douglass the importance of literacy.  As an example of how important it was to Douglass to learn how to read and write he stated, “Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read.”  In view of this objective, Douglass did whatever it took to take in the essentials of perusing and composing. He considered a wide range of crafty approaches to pick up this learning (Douglass, et al. 77). Douglass vouched for utilizing cunning and gift on the young men of the group as a method for learning and rehearsing his letters. Indeed, even as a youthful kid, Douglass understood that information was power. Proficiency gave Douglass the ability to advance the quality to free himself from the individuals who might keep him uninformed and a slave.

Harriet Tubman did not  acquire education

On the other hand, Harriet Tubman was not lucky enough to acquire education, but that did not prevent her from becoming one of the celebrated and brave people in history. Her status as a woman and a slave legally prohibited her from getting education considering that back then it was against the law to teach slaves. Tubman barely mentions the use of reading and writing as a way to fight against her oppressors but rather widely talks of her struggle to defend her brothers and sister from being sold to other plantation after her first three sisters were sold away.  Additionally, much of her fight against oppression and slavery focused on taking slaves from Maryland to Free states such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Canada (Rudisel and Blaisdell 59). Unlike Fredrick who used education as his main weapon to fight slavery, her strength comes from close friends and family members which prompted her to become a spy and an expert in the use of weapons prompting her to become the first woman to lead an army to war during the civil war.

Similarities between Douglass and Tubman

One of the similarities between Douglass and Tubman is that both were slaves who had the zeal and willingness to overcome their immediate problems for the greater good of the black nation. Both icons had to fight their way to prominence in different ways and manners fights. Their immediate state as slaves presented a lot of obstacles and challenges, but their perseverance and patience finally paid off when they escaped to freedom (Rudisel and Blaisdell 99).  Douglass clearly states that he had previously attempted to escape slavery on two other occasions but did not succeed. However, on the third attempt with the help of Anna Murray he successfully made his way to New York. On the other hand, Harriet has to patiently wait for the death of her owner before she could find her way to Philadelphia.  Her patience and endurance to all mistreatment finally came to an end.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick, et al. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself: Authoritative Text Contexts Criticsm. 2017.

Rudisel, Christine, and Robert Blaisdell. Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad. 2014.


Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow and the Early Writers