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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July weekend from all of us here at the Rosenbach! If you are going to any parades or fireworks this weekend, you'll probably be hearing a lot of everyone's favorite song from the American Revolution--Yankee Doodle. But did you know that the Rosenbach has a unique copy of what is possibly a first printing of the song from 1775? You'll be able to see the broadside in our upcoming show "Burn This: Censorship, Secrecy, and Survival in the Rosenbach Collections," which will open August 10, but here's a July 4th preview:
[Yankee Doodle]. “The farmer and his son’s return from a visit to the camp. . . ” Boston[?], 1775. A 775f

Among the verses you are unlikely to hear this weekend is this one:"And there was captain Washington/ With Gentlefolks about him/They say he's grown so tarnal proud/He will not ride without them."

If you want to REALLY impress your friends at your weekend barbecue, you could introduce them to some other, more obscure, Revolutionary songs. This one is called "Americans to Arms," and is sung (fittingly enough) to the tune of "Britons to Arms."

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I personally like verse two: "Rouse, rouse my boys, 'tis freedom that calls/Mount, mount your guns, prepare your ball/We'll fight, we'll conquer, or we'll die/But we'll maintain our liberty/And hand it to posterity--farewell England."

Or, you could go with"The Liberty Song," sung to the tune of "The British Grenadier. "

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If you don't know the tune, here's a YouTube clip of "The British Grenadier":

The opening verse of "The Liberty Song" calls us to "Arouse each brave American, arouse and shew the earth/We will assert that freedom, to us deriv'd from birth/Ne'er shall the Scottish tools in power o'er this blesst land bear sway/The foes, the foes, the foes, the foes of all America."

The last verse concludes "Unnumbered distant nations with wonder and applause/Shall hear the glorious contest for freedom and our laws/Shall crown our heads victorious with never fading Bayes/And pray and pray and pray and pray, for more America's."

Stirring words and a worthy challenge to live up to.

While I have focused this blog post on the Revolution, my mind is still very much with the Civil War, since I'll be helping out with the Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show this weekend in Franklin Square. It's open from Friday through Monday 11 Am- 7pm, so come check it out. Personally, I'm also interested in the ways in which both North and South celebrated the 4th (at least early in the war) --both claiming continuity with the legacy of the Founding Fathers. I should write more on this another time, but if you're as interested as I am, you might enjoy this master's thesis on the Civil War celebrations, Union and Confederate.

Have a great 4th!

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