Alfred M. Green Speech Analysis

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The Civil War, a war fought during the 1860s, decided a great many things: slavery or freedom, south and north or unification. In the beginning of the war, the Northern African Americans were not allowed to join the Union Army and fight against the Southern oppressors. Alfred M. Green, while giving a speech in Philadelphia at the beginning of the war, urged African American to prepare to enlist. He also spoke subversively about the unfairness of the treatment of African Americans not only in the South but also in the North. Green uses a variety of methods to persuade his fellow African-Americans to prepare for war while also speaking out against the treatment of the African-Am. in the North.

Green begins his speech by immediately mentioning the cornerstone of the American ideology, that American citizens believe in “freedom, and of civil and religious toleration.” By remind the African Americans what America is founded on, he incites in them the desire to go to war against anyone opposing the idea. Green, by the same token, reminds the whites of their unfairness in denying the African Americans their rights. The mention of the “immortal Washington” and “Jackson” also appeals to the patriotism in the African Americans, moving them closer to desiring to fight in the war.

The appeal Green makes to the religious beliefs of the African Americans is apparent throughout his speech. Because most of the African Americans at the time were Christian, by referring to their God as the “God of truth, Justice and equality to all men” makes the AFri. Am. feel obligated to help the cause of the Civil War. Because their God believed in “freedom,” why and how can they deny anyone else that right? At the same time Green also reminds the whites that their same God is the white God and that the African Americans deserve rights as well. Green also wants the African Americans to be “trusting in God” because their God wants them to go to war and will protect them. Why should the...
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