African American and supporter of the Union, Alfred M. Green, delivered a speech to fellow African Americans during the first month of the Civil War in 1868 Philadelphia. Green’s purpose in this speech is to persuade and convince other African Americans with the same political beliefs as him to prepare to eventually join the Union forces.
Green adopts a patriotic, religious and solemn but yet, sarcastic, tone in order to illustrate that while African Americans were not legally permitted to enlist in the army, they should still strive to prepare to enlist as soon as the legal right to fight for their country and against slavery was given to African American men, as well as to speak briefly about the injustice shown to African Americans before and during the Civil War.
Green opens the speech by mentioning the primary beliefs of American citizens: “love of country, of freedom, and of civil and religious toleration,” which Green defines as “true patriotism” (1). In the first two paragraphs of his speech, heavy patriotic diction is utilized to instill the audience with feelings of pride, love and patriotism for America, as well as the desire to go to war.
Green also speaks concerning [George] Washington and [Andrew] Jackson, briefly summarizing their deeds, but also boldly states that their actions were in vain, for they “failed to bring us into recognition as citizens” (2), possibly meaning blacks and whites. Green shows his bias by inspiring African Americans to go to war, while reprimanding white citizens for denying African Americans of the rights that should legally be theirs.