The Atlas Society made this short animated clip on Frederick Douglas, that tells a bit of his history and reveals something I didn’t know: Douglas saw straight through the socialist schlock of his time. In the late 1800s, socialism was still just an idea, but there were early advocates marketing it to the public. Fresh from having just been a slave Frederick Douglas would have none of it.
Reason published a good article on this, revealing that early socialists thought the abolition of slavery wasn’t even all that important, because, in their view, wage labor was much worse than slavery. Slavers in the South were quick to align themselves with socialists on this point, arguing, as the left was arguing, that if wage labor was worse, then slavery wasn’t all that bad. It’s notable that the Democratic Party backed slavery in the 1800s and today backs socialism. At least they’re consistent.