In 1861, Wendell Phillips delivered a speech about the great accomplishments of the most powerful leader in Haiti; Toussaint-Louverture. The speech was written around the time when African Americans did not have the right to serve in the military. In his speech, Wendell Phillips praises Toussaint Louverture for creating equal rights when it comes to serving in the military.
Wendell Phillips uses magnificent examples and metaphors to inform us about Toussaint-Louverture’s great accomplishments; which are creating equal rights for everybody who wants to join the military. Phillips’s purpose is to show people that they can accomplish their goals, if they are willing to fight for them. Toussaint-Louverture reached his goal of allowing African Americans to serve in the military by fighting against many armies and showing them that it doesn’t matter what race a person is.
One of the examples Phillips uses is “Men who despised him as a negro and a slave, and hated him because he had beaten them in many a battle.” It shows that the Britons, Frenchmen, and Spaniards think that Toussaint-Louverture is of little value because of the fact that he is a slave and an African American, but they also fear him because they know what he is capable of. Hoehlein2
The example demonstrates that it doesn’t matter what race someone is and that every person should have the right to live their dream; and if it is a person’s dream to serve in the military, he should be allowed to fulfill it.
The metaphor “We measure genius by quality, not by quantity…” that Wendell Phillips uses in his speech shows that Toussaint-Louverture has the ability to win the battles against those armies because he has the courage to fight for the rights of his people and he has his heart set on creating equal rights for everybody; and not because he has an army of thousands of men. Quality is far more important than quantity and African Americans should
have the right to serve in the military if it is their dream to do so.
Toussaint-Louverture proved that he was willing to fight for his dream of creating equal rights for everybody. When Wendell Phillips says “Then, dipping her pen in the sunlight, will write in the clear blue, […] Toussaint-Louverture.” it demonstrates how greatly appreciated and respected Toussaint-Louverture was. He was considered the most powerful leader in Haiti back then because he fought for equal rights and he accomplished his goal. African Americans are now allowed to serve in the military because Toussaint-Louverture made it possible for them to do so.
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