Sample Book Report Paper on Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

The Book Report

The narrative of Fredrick Douglass is an autobiography of freed individuals. The book is not easy to read especially to those individuals who do not believe on the freedom and rights of others. The book is about Fredrick’s life as a slave and his experiences together with other slaves. Together with others, Douglass experiences a lot of brutality in terms of whipping and other forms of ill treatment where their oppressors are enjoying while marginalizing them. Many scholar and researchers argue that those obligated to oversee the slaves showed no mercy to them for it would it signify weakness and disobedient to their masters. The book is very worth reading for it equips one with knowledge and information on how life was difficult to blacks before the human rights initiatives abolished the inhuman activity (Douglass 20). The book also shows how oppressors used religion as a scapegoat to control and dehumanize others. After reading the narrative by Frederick Douglass, one will get the feeling that the story is incomplete and has many gaps that cannot be filled by other scholars and authors especially those who do not have interest on human rights and discrimination. He deliberately left a lot of data to protect other slaves and their identity. Additionally, he freed himself by escaping away for he did not want the management to discover the weakness in them that facilitated escape to slaves without much struggle. However, as one reads the book he or she is able to fill the spaces left by the narrator and being able to develop a documentary about blacks lie Douglass who profiled extra ordinary things.

Frederick Douglass was born in the year 1817 in Talbot County in Motherland. When at his tender age he was sent to slavery where he worked as a house servant. By that time, Black salves working on plantations were not considered as human beings and instead they were treated in the same way as criminals and law offenders. According to Douglass (5), they took food from a trough and fed like pigs without having other eating implements. Douglass was moved around to work for other plantation owners where sometimes he was loaned to a number of them and expected to work for each one of them in a single day. Throughout his narration, one is able to identify personalities of both the slave owners and the overseers and later discover to which extent how they did was wrong and injuring to slave’s reputation. However, Douglass did not lost his faith and there are various instances where his spirit was broken  almost making him to go on ,but something snapped him out of  the discouragement and the positive spirit in him facilitated his free from slavery.

In his book, Douglass states that he kept on hearing the word abolitionist where he was much concerned to know what the word meant though he could not consult his owners about the word. He pretended that he was not interested in escaping for he knew that the slave owners had spies who would report him to their masters and as a result, he received merciless punishments without any response. The narrative is an autobiography since the reader is able to see graphic details in some things that they went through at the hands of their owners who abused the power they possessed. He escaped to New York where he looked for those individuals who believed that all men were supposed to be free and worked towards abolishing slavery.

Bounty Hunter, Slaves Catcher in the United States

Slave catchers were people charged with the responsibility of returning escaping slaves to their owners in the U.S. before the abolition of slavery during the civil war in America. There were various types of slave catchers such as law enforcers and the mercenaries who possessed a lot of energy and skills that enabled them to undertake the activity with ease and less time thus returning many escaping slaves with less time. The law enforcement squads were the guards who received small fees from citizens specifically those who owned private firms to police the possible escape streets as well as maintaining law and order in other small areas (Reid 731). The slave hunting activity was most prevalent in the southern part of America for most of the slave owners resided in the area. The groups focused on hunting slaves centrally to the popular belief that slave patrols were composed of men only. The southern group created a need to maintain law and order among slaves and their owners rather than protecting the interests of those people who did not engage in slavery activities. The first group of catchers is believed to begin their work from Caribbean towards the end of the sixteenth century when Spanish and English colonialists volunteered to handle the then increasing number of slaves. However, the operations did not succeed for their territories were enormous and challenging to the law enforcers and as result, many slaves were able to escape from where they received shelter from both the local government and the abolitionists living in the northern part of the country.

Many states in America allowed the locals to enforce and enlist the aid from U.S. commissioners and federal marshals in fighting slavery. The enforcement widely spread to other states especially after the ratification of the slave Act of 1850 that allowed America citizens to help in capturing the escaping slaves (Brucato 30). However, the fugitive Act nullified all the formal efforts on slavery and abolitionists began to resort all acts of defiance and resistance to the practice. During the American Civil war, the law enforcement groups met a lot of difficulty for most of the whites were fighting in the war.

Consequently, the duty to hunt slaves fell to women who were unable for they had other household activities to run. Inadequate punishments and greater like hoods of successful escape enabled more slaves to escape. Besides, the mercenaries were hired by slave owners to capture their escaping slaves. The mercenaries travelled long distances to hunt the fugitives and as a result, they were compensated depending on the number of miles and they travelled. With time, the northern people increasingly become opposed to the idea of slave catchers. Consequently, they adopted the anti-southern views and passed new liberty ordinances that were against the South’s effort to capture and retain the escaping slaves. The new laws did not prohibit the catching of fugitive slaves but instead they made the practice more expensive, difficult, and time consuming to the extent that the salve catchers abandoned their operations.

Bounty hunters are persons who are responsible to capture criminals or fugitives for a bounty. Their occupation is also known as the bail recovery agents and historically existed in all parts of the universe especially in Europe and Africa continents where slave trade was mostly experienced (Martin 60). However, today, they are found in the United States for the practice is not allowed in many countries all over the world. In 1873, the American Supreme Court ruled made a decision that bounty hunters were an inclusive part of the United States enforcement system. In modern world, bounty hunters carry out arrests to those who skip the bails provided in jury verdicts although many professionals due to their historical attachments do not like the practice. In the court case Taintor versus Taylor, the supreme court established that the person in custody is  accused and remanded as part of accuser’s bill and has rights to sweep away rights of that person with or without her consent.

As of 2008, many American states had abolished the practice for they prohibited commercial bails and had initially banned the commercial bail industry within their borders. Connecticut State has a detailed process of licensing that requires any individual or organization that engages in the business as a bounty hunter to first obtain a license from the Commissioner of Public Safety (Martin 60). Of late, many bounty hunters have been prosecuted for killing many innocent citizens during arrest and unlike security officers; they are protected legally by the constitution. For example, In Texas, bounty hunters Richard James and DG Pearson were arrested and prosecuted in 2001 when they shot a wife to a fugitive when attempting to arrest the criminal.


Works Cited

Brucato, Ben. “Fabricating the Color Line in a White Democracy: From Slave Catchers to Petty Sovereigns.Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, vol.61, no.141, 2014, pp.30-54.

Douglass, Fredrick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Boston, Anti-slavery Office, 1845.

Martin, Edward. “Bounty hunter”. Business North Carolina, vol.35, no.6, 2015, pp.60-65.

Reid, Patricia. “Stealing Freedom along the Mason-Dixon Line: Thomas McCreary, the Notorious Slave Catcher from Maryland”. Journal of Social History, Vol.50, no.4, 2017, pp.731-739