A Friendly Reminder

Daniel O’Connell and the Committee of the Repeal of the Irish Association contrasts the broken relationship between Black people and Irish-Americans seen at the end of Moon and the Mars. The Civil War and the years leading to it caused both communities to place their own needs above the other’s. Many Irish-American men resented fighting for the Union because they believed that they were fighting in a war that had nothing to do with them. This resent bled into their relationships with Black people, as they blamed them for stolen job opportunities and lost lives because of the war. Furthermore, there were Irish-Americans who owned slaves in the South which is a larger contrast to the relationship seen in the North. Yet O’Connell speaks to both audiences in his essay to push his message more personally than he could with other groups. He states “It was not in Ireland you learned this cruelty” (1), arguing that they have pushed further and further away from their cultural roots. It is also a reminder to them of where their ancestors came from, which is a humbling message for them.

This week in class, we talked about what it meant to be an Irish-American back then and what it means today. In the 1850s and 1860s, more people were connected with their European roots and O’Connell’s reading stresses the “Irish” part more than the “American” part. While they are assimilating to American society, he reminds them that the “Declaration of Independence applies to all races” (O’Connell, pg. 2). This statement challenges their current perspectives on Black people’s place in American society by placing them as equals. O’Connell emphasizes that they learned these ideas in the US, and have incorrect interpretations of them at that. This piece was written when Irish-Americans were straying away from Black people. But O’Connell paints them as hypocrites in this essay to show the evils of slavery and their parts in it. Overall, I think it is an effective abolitionist piece since he discusses their cultural values directly and reminds Irish-Americans of their true identities.