Music to Understand Revolutionary Times – “Yankee Doodle Dandy”

American Soldier 1776 done  British Soldier 1776 done


We have been studying how the words to popular songs give us a glimpse into the daily lives of people who lived long ago.  Here is the most popular song of 1776, Yankee Doodle Dandy.  It was loved by both the British soldiers and the American colonists.  Each side changed the words of the song to suit their own opinion.

Read the British version of the first verse below.  What did the British soldiers plan to do?
British Verse
“Yankee Doodle came to town
For to buy a firelock 
We will tar and feather him
And so we will John Hancock.”

Here is the colonists’ version of the first verse.  How did they respond?

Colonists’ Verse

“There was Captain Washington
Upon a slapping stallion 
A-Giving orders to his men
I guess there was a million.”
New Words:
Firelock: a gun that uses a spark to ignite the gunpowder
Tar and Feather: to smear tar and put feathers on someone as punishment
John Hancock: An American Revolutionary Leader
Captain Washington:  George Washington, American Revolutionary Leader and first US President
Stallion: Male horse
Ignite: light with fire
Click here to listen to the music .

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