The 7 Greatest Speeches In Modern History

Published May 3, 2012
Updated March 13, 2017

Greatest Speeches: “The Hypocrisy Of American Slavery,” Frederick Douglass

Douglass Portrait

Wikimedia Commons

After escaping slavery in 1838, Frederick Douglass became a famous abolitionist and revered public speaker across the North. He was invited to speak at a New York Fourth of July celebration in 1845.

Choosing not to celebrate the nation that had captured, imprisoned, and killed hundreds of thousands of people, he delivered a speech that was one of the most blistering condemnations of slavery ever spoken.


“Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.”