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American patriotic music

The bombardment of Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the lyrics for the national anthem.

American patriotic music is a part of the culture and history of the United States since its founding in the 18th century and has served to encourage feelings of honor for the country's forefathers and for national unity.[1] These songs include hymns, military themes, national songs, and music from stage and screen, as well as songs adapted from poems.[2] Much of American patriotic music owes its origins to six main wars — the American Revolution, the American Indian Wars, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the American Civil War, and the Spanish American War. During the period prior to American independence, much of America's patriotic music was aligned with the political ambitions of the British in the new land and so several songs are tied with the country's British origin.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


"The Liberty Song", written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768 to the music of William Boyce's "Heart of Oak", is perhaps the first patriotic song written in America. The song contains the line "by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall", which was an overture to the feelings of common blood and origin the Americans had whilst fighting the French and Indian War, and is also the first recorded use of the sentiment. Additionally, other songs gained prominence in keeping with British and American unity namely "The British Grenadiers," and "God Save the King". However, with the War of Independence the tunes of the last two were combined with new words while "Yankee Doodle", long a tune and lyric addressed to the unique American population descended from the British became widely popular. Political and cultural links between the colony and Great Britain can perhaps explain the ongoing popularity of the two former tunes, despite the war for independence.

In 1814, Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote a poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry," after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. Once again, owing to the origin of America from British nationals, the lyrics were later set to music common to British and American sailors, but eventually becoming world famous as the "The Star-Spangled Banner," and was designated the United States' official national anthem in 1931.

After centuries of struggling and fighting "hostile" Indians, diseases, and nature, Americans had breached the Appalachian mountain chain and pushed into the wide open ares of the far west. Thus, songs such as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," composed in 1831, have as themes natural wonder combined with freedom and liberty.[3] Indeed others, such as "America the Beautiful," express appreciation for the natural beauty of the United States and the hope for a better nation, wrote one hymn editor.[3] However, in contrast to "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" and the "Star Spangled Banner", the "America the Beautiful" does not have the triumphalism found in many patriotic American songs. It was originally a poem composed by Katharine Lee Bates after she had experienced the view from Pikes Peak of fertile ground as far as the eye could see, and was sung to a variety of tunes until the present one, written as a hymn tune in 1882 by Samuel Ward, became associated with it.[4]

During the events leading up to the Theodore Roosevelt. Around this time, John Philip Sousa began composing many of his famous patriotic marches, including "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and "The Washington Post March." Songs such as "The Black KPs", likely labelled racist and offensive by modern listeners, were intended to rally the public behind the war effort.[5]

External links

  1. ^ "Star-spangled quiz".  
  2. ^ [1] "Patriotic melodies," Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved August 5, 2008
  3. ^ a b Diana Sanchez (1989). The Hymns of the United Methodist Hymnal. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press. p. 232.  
  4. ^ [2] "America the beautiful," Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved August 5, 2008
  5. ^ a b "1890s Music".  
  6. ^ [3] "Over there," Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved August 5, 2008


See also

("God Bless America" also saw a resurgence after September 11). September 11, 2001 attacks and again after the Gulf War" during the years of the first God Bless the USA's "Lee Greenwood and Vietnam War" during the Ballad of the Green Berets format. Popular patriotic songs of the time included "Remember Pearl Harbor" and "God Bless America". Patriotic songs in the later half of the 20th century included "Swing and Big Band era produced a significant number of patriotic songs in the World War II" in response to his dislike of "God Bless America", calling it unrealistic and complacent. The This Land Is Your Land wrote "Woody Guthrie, in place of) "The Star-Spangled Banner." In 1940, Ronan Tynan", is sometimes considered an unofficial national anthem of the United States and is often performed at sporting events alongside (or, in some rare cases, such as God Bless America composition, "Irving Berlin," an over-the-top parody of patriotic music. A 1918 Yankee Doodle Dandy Cohan also is famous for penning "[6]

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