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Hail Columbia!American Music and Politics in the Early Nation$
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Laura Lohman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190930615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190930615.001.0001

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Musical Myth-Making and the War of 1812

Musical Myth-Making and the War of 1812

(p.235) 6 Musical Myth-Making and the War of 1812
Hail Columbia!

Laura Lohman

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how Americans used music to craft powerful myths about the War of 1812. The war began amid strong sectional and partisan divisions, but Americans obscured these divisions by circulating a large volume of selective accounts of the war that ignored reversals of Republican policy and highlighted the Republican administration’s success in bringing peace with a navy of Federalist design. Understood in the context of the previous chapters, Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” illustrates the sonic transcendence of ideological and partisan debate. The American nationalism that the song came to symbolize developed not only in a transatlantic context but also alongside strong regional and other allegiances. Following years of economic stress and partisan strife, Americans used music to portray the nation as self-sufficient, militarily competent, and united in feeling.

Keywords:   War of 1812, myth, navy, Star-Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, Hunters of Kentucky, political song, nationalism

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