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Why does Frederick Douglass say"however long i might remain a slave in form ,the day had passed forever when i could be a slave in fact"?

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To me, it seems he is saying that his body might still be enslaved, but his mind is not. He had come to a point in his life that he knew he could no longer stay a slave. That he must be free. Maybe he was not at that moment, but he knew he could not remain a slave.

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