Letter to Henry Clay in North Star

      The first thing I noticed about this letter is that it was written to Henry Clay, of course. Henry Clay was a Senator and was known as the Great Compromiser. I also noticed that the letter was written in 1847, three years before the Compromise of 1850 which was authored in the Senate by Clay and had a big impact on the issue of slavery in this country. So it was relevant that Douglass be writing him at this point in history on the issue of his views on slavery. Clay was a known opponent of slavery, however Douglass did not hesitate to point out to Clay his faults and hypocrisies in the letter. The purpose of this letter was for Douglass to use a political outlet to shape slavery policy and make get a voice in the issue. It was also to entreat Clay that compromise is not the way to solve the problem of slavery.

      What I can glean from the time period in whic Douglass lived and wrote this letter is that a lot of things were happenning at the time. Douglass was trying to get his point across any way he could before policy was made in a way that didn’t favor his side. Also, I think it makes a good point that even and maybe especially back then politicians were huge hypocrites who couldn’t be trusted to make unbiased and unsullied decisions.

      Some new questions this article yields are, obviously, did Clay read the letter? Did he take it into consideration? Did it influence his actions on the floor of the Senate in the future? What was Douglass’s relationship with politicians like? Did he meet with them regularly as a valued advisor? What was his role in the eventual abolition of slavery?