Category Archive '“The Star-Spangled Banner”'

02 Apr 2019

At the Mississippi Legislature

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Then he ought to have done “Dixie.”

29 Aug 2017

Next, They’re Coming for the National Anthem

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Siege of Fort McHenry, 13 September 1814, lithograph, Library of Congress.

Jefferson Morley, originally in the hard-left Alternet and reprinted in Salon, says:

It is time to examine the words and the origins of our national anthem, another neo-Confederate symbol. …

What we are seeing is the popular repudiation — and violent defense — of the neo-Confederate ideology that has shaped the symbols of American public life for the last 150 years. Some of these symbols now draw protests, while others are woven into public life.

For example, observing Memorial Day and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” are uncontroversial patriotic gestures, yet there is no disputing that neo-Confederates developed these rituals. …

Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” with its lyrics deriding black people who took up arms to gain their freedom in the War of 1812, became a point of pride for Southerners.


The offending lyrics occur in stanzas 3 & 4:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.

It is actually far from obvious that Francis Scott Key, the alleged neo-Confederate writing in 1814, was referring to literal slaves at all. He more probably was simply expressing conventional contempt for paid mercenaries in the British service and for impressed seamen.

Francis Scott Key 1779-1843, who died long before the Civil War, is a neo-Confederate? The insanity get crazier all the time.

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