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The autobiography
Notes on the State of Virginia
On being Brought from Africa to America
What to the slave is the fourth of july?
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.
Bejamin Franklin
This book was by a man who was pretty ahead of his time. He promoted religious indifference, saying people should embrace all religions. He believed in deism, which is basically the belief that there is a god, but he doesn't preside over everything, he just makes everything "good" and lets it happen. He also gave up on specific religious doctrines

He thinks religion is a private thing. Enough about religion, he also made basically a list of things that would constitute the perfect person. He tries to make himself this perfect person, but kind of gives up unfortunately. He made a chart and everything to track his progress, but it just wasn't working out.
Notes on the State of Virginia
This was about slavery stuff mostly. His basic argument was that black people don't ACTUALLY have souls. Because of a few reasons - they're not artistic, and they can't show emotions being the two main arguments. Also blacks are the most miserable conditions, and they haven't really made any poetry, and since most poetry comes from misery, it's just disappointing that they haven't made any.
Phillis Wheatley
She was a poet of sorts. At her time, people didn't realize that she was subtly saying that blacks are actually pretty good, and didn't really want to go to America. Used some sweet comparisons, like blacks are refined like cane sugar to whites. It's weird but it gets the people going.
Frederick Douglass
He was an abolitionist. The speech we read was about how even though blacks are no longer technically slaves, they're still in a pretty shitty situation, and don't want to celebrate the freedom of America. Slaves are fighting the chains of slavery like America fought the chains of Britain. He also rebukes all the arguments of why blacks are the lesser man in this speech. Basically, saying they definitely are NOT beasts, and are certainly humans. He's dangerous because of how well he writes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
He's basically preaching that people should believe in themselves. This isn't about an economical situation, but about an emotional one. People should keep their character consistent with themselves, but not worry about consistent actions. You can't deny your own true nature.
Henry David Thoreau
He was influenced by Emerson, and was basically talking about the consequences that Self Reliance would bring about - namely That people's own laws or rules being above society's is a good thing. Also, he though we lost things with technology. Lastly, thought man should rely on self esteem for worth, not on property.

He came from the lower class. He wants his writing to wake up readers on another level. Thinks we should give up government and post offices, news, etc. People should see reality, instead of stuff.
Walt Whitman
Pioneered the writing style of free verse. Writes about ugly stuff, not stuff that gives you good images. The one we read was about a steamship and stuff. It was about how he feels the same emotions as the reader, even though he isn't the same person as the reader. Deep stuff man.