How go the history of the U.S. National anthem reflect the country’s lengthy struggle with racial, economic and gender inequality?


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The flag the flew over ft McHenry in 1814 (Credit: Smithsonian school Archives via Wikimedia)


It is famous that Francis Scott key is the writer of the well known words “the floor of the complimentary and the home of the brave.” He composed those native in 1814 and, ever due to the fact that 1931, they have actually been sung together the nationwide anthem of the united States.

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What is far less recognized are his see on race.

In his career as lawyer and public servant, vital spoke publicly of africans in America together “a distinct and inferior gyeongju of people, i m sorry all experience proves to it is in the biggest evil that afflicts a community.”

He experienced them together a shiftless and untrustworthy populace — a nuisance to white people.

Key thought the systems to the slavery problem was to cost-free the enslaved Africans and also get rid of lock by help them colonize Africa. He worked on instead of of this racial dream for an ext than 20 years. The was, in the indigenous of a friend, a distressingly serious man.

Key had end up being famous almost by accident. He wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” in September 1814 and also it became immediately popular.

Amazingly, the track was the product of a humiliation. Francis Scott crucial was a veteran that what some referred to as “the Bladensburg Races,” the complete collapse that American forces throughout the British invasion of Washington in respectable 1814.

When the untrained American militia confronted the dogged advance by brothers troops, backed by pho fire, the Americans damaged rank by the hundreds and then through the thousands.

They ran as rapid as lock could, hence the humorous recommendation to “The Races.” Most merely ran earlier toward Washington, including Lieutenant Key. In the Bladensburg Races, Francis Scott key was a sprinter.

Seeking come redeem his battlefield failure, crucial negotiated through British forces that had actually arrested a family members friend.

In his initiative to certain his friend’s release, he controlled to join him aboard a brother ship as the fleet bombarded ft McHenry in Baltimore harbor.

On September 14, 1814, the British confirmed their prowess in the spectacular and also useless screen of army power by pummeling the ft with bombs.

The americans did not return fire. However they did hang a red, white and also blue flag out. In ~ dawn — much to everyone’s surprised — the British had actually not breached the fort’s walls and the flag to be still there.

Key determined to write a patriotic song. He fitted his words come a well-known English drinking club song called, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Originally, the track had 4 stanzas, although just one is sung today. In the now-forgotten last stanza, vital wrote:

Then overcome we should when our cause it is just/And this be our motto: “In God is ours Trust.”/And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph chandelier wave/O’er the floor of the complimentary and the residence of the brave.”

In Key’s developmental lyrics, America would conquer in the name of a just god.

After the defense of ft McHenry, the war of 1812 pertained to a nearby — brother had beat France in Europe and did not treatment to bother further with the Americans.

If the unified States had not won the battle of 1812, it had actually not lost it either. Americans were cost-free — white Americans, the is.

Key’s name spread throughout the united States since of the popularity of “the Star Spangled Banner.” The tune was sung everywhere, though it would not formally be embraced as the nationwide anthem the the United states for another century.

The designation of the “Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem was the culmination that a 15-year lobbying campaign a century later led by veterans’ institutions that overcame resistance from new England and also from pacifists who criticized the song’s aggressive imagery.

In 1930, Congressman man Linthicum, a Democrat from Baltimore, introduced a invoice to designate the Star Spangled Banner together the national anthem.

Wide majorities of the House and also the Senate approved it a year later and President Herbert Hoover signed the bill right into law on march 3, 1931.

But the words that ring in every American’s ears around freedom and also bravery take it on new definition when one looks additional into the Washington summer that 1835.

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