Sweet Freedom's Song: "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and Democracy in America

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Oxford University Press, 2002 M03 28 - 296 pages
Although it isn't the official national anthem, America may be the most important and interesting patriotic song in our national repertoire. Sweet Freedom's Song: "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and Democracy in America is a celebration and critical exploration of the complicated musical, cultural and political roles played by the song America over the past 250 years. Popularly known as My Country 'Tis of Thee and as God Save the King/Queen before that this tune has a history as rich as the country it extols. In Sweet Freedom's Song, Robert Branham and Stephen Hartnett chronicle this song's many incarnations over the centuries. Colonial Americans, Southern slaveowners, abolitionists, temperance campaigners and labor leaders, among others, appropriated and adapted the tune to create anthems for their own struggles. Because the song has been invoked by nearly every grassroots movement in American history, the story of America offers important insights on the story of democracy in the United States. An examination of America as a historical artifact and cultural text, Sweet Freedoms Song is a reflection of the rebellious spirit of Americans throughout our nations history. The late Robert James Branham and his collaborator, Stephen Hartnett, have produced a thoroughly-researched, delightfully written book that will appeal to scholars and patriots of all stripes.
 

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Contents

God Save the _____ Institutionalizing Appropriating and Contesting Nationalism through Song 17441798
14
The Subordination of the Different Parts and Voices Popularizing America through Grassroots Activism 18261850
45
Bombast Fraud Deception Impiety and Hypocrisy in the Dark Land of Slavery 18301859
86
Teach Us True Liberty America in the Civil War and Reconstruction 18611869
119
Reforming the Sweet Land of Knavery America and Political Protest 18701932
163
America God Save the Queen and Postmodernity
197
Sixteen Versions of God Save the King and My Country Tis of Thee Organized Chronologically 17441891
205
Selective List of Alternative American Versions of God Save the King and America 17591900
221
Notes
229
Index
259
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Page 9 - This order is now bound to the technical and economic conditions of machine production which today determine the lives of all the individuals who are born into this mechanism, not only those directly concerned with economic acquisition, with irresistible force.

About the author (2002)

Stephen J. Hartnett is Assistant Professor of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana. As a musician and poet, he has released numerous recordings. Robert James Branham was Professor of Rhetoric at Bates College.

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