American patriotic music

American patriotic music

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 national unity. [cite news|title=Star-spangled quiz|date=2007-07-04|publisher="The Sacramento Bee"|url= |page=E1|accessdate=2008-05-31 ] These songs include hymns, military themes, national songs, and music from stage and screen, as well as songs adapted from poems. [] "Patriotic melodies," Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved August 5, 2008] Much of American patriotic music owes its origins to four main wars — the American Revolution, the War of 1812, 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.

"The Liberty Song", written by 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", the first recorded use of the sentiment. The American Revolution produced three popular patriotic tunes — "British Grenadiers", "God Save the King" and "Yankee Doodle". Political and cultural links between the colony and Great Britain can perhaps explain the popularity of the two former tunes, despite the war for independence. In 1814, Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote the "Star Spangled Banner", later to become the country's national anthem, in response to witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. Songs such as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", composed in 1831, have as their theme freedom and liberty.cite book|author=Diana Sanchez |title=The Hymns of the United Methodist Hymnal |location=Nashville, Tennessee |publisher=Abingdon Press|year=1989 |page=p. 232|isbn=0-687-43149-2] 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. It 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. [ [] "America the beautiful," Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved August 5, 2008]

During the events leading up to the American Civil War, both the north and the south generated a number of songs to stir up patriotic sentiments such as "Battle Hymn of the Republic". However, after the Civil War, the sentiments of most patriotic songs were geared to rebuilding and consolidating the United States. During the Spanish-American War in the 1890s, songwriters continued to write patriotic tunes that honored America's soldiers and rallied citizens in support of the war.cite web|title=1890s Music|date=1999|publisher=Public Broadcasting Service|url= |accessdate=2008-06-01 ] Songs such as "Brave Dewey and His Men" and "The Chare of the Roosevelt Riders" lauded Commodore George Dewey and Theodore Roosevelt. Songs such as "The Black KPs", likely labelled racist and offensive by modern listeners, were intended to rally the public behind the war effort.

World War I, the "War to end all wars", produced patriotic American songs such as "Over There" by popular songwriter George M. Cohan. Cohan composed the song April 6, 1917, when he saw headlines announcing the U.S. had entered World War 1. [ [] "Over there," Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress. Retrieved August 5, 2008] A 1918 Berlin composition, "God Bless America", is sometimes referred to as the unofficial national anthem of the United States. In 1940, Woody Guthrie wrote "This Land Is Your Land" in response to his dislike of "God Bless America", calling it unrealistic and complacent. The World War II era produced a significant number of patriotic songs in the Big Band and Swing format. Popular patriotic songs of the time included "Remember Pearl Harbor" and "God Bless America". Patriotic songs in latter half of the 20th century included "Ballad of the Green Berets" during the Vietnam War and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" during the years of the first Gulf War.


External links

* [ Patriotic songs] , National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences website

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