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Virtue in Action – The Responsibilities of Frederick Douglass

Look around your street, your neighborhood, your school, and your community. Is there anything you can identify that needs improving? Define the problem, and then think about your responsibility as a citizen to take action to improve it. Issues to think through:

  1. Our constitutional system assumes that most issues are better solved by citizens working together voluntarily than through the use of government force.
  2. Before automatically developing a plan to petition government, be sure that the problem you have identified cannot be solved by your own words and actions and/ or by the freely offered words and actions of others
  3. If it cannot, determine which level of government (local, state, or national) has the power to address it
  4. Before taking action, think about how the additional power that you and your fellow citizens would like to grant to government may eventually be used by officials who do not share your specific goals.

Sources & Further Reading

Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom. N.p: Create Space Independent Platform, 2013.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Under. ed. N.p.:
Dover, 1995.

National Park Service. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.