[Marxism] 1812 and Star-Spanged Banner [was "marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu"]
MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sat Apr 29 14:02:28 MDT 2006
Historians have seen the War of 1812 as both "Mr. Madison's War" and "the
Second War for Independence." It was both.
Initially, it was about national ambitions and expansionist motives.
However, the main goal was Canada, so it's simplistic to see it as a
slaveholder's bid. The plan was to do this while Britain was occupied with
Napoleon. Hence, "Mr. Madison's War"....
After the defeat of the US invasion of Canada and the end of the fighting
overseas, the British turned the attention of the seasoned troops of the
best regular army in the world to the US with its massive and virtually
defenseless coastline and very little with which to protect its coastal
communities (which were initially unenthusiastic about the war) other than
At that point, it became "the Second War for Independence."
Even the most superficial look at the defense of Baltimore makes it pretty
clear that the survival of the republic required popular mobilizations....
There were almost no regular troops in the city, just at the fort. Before
the bombardment, the British landed regulars north of the city with plans to
fight their way in from that direction, but they faced the militia plus all
sorts of people rising to the exigencies of the time, including hundreds of
African-Aemricans. After the bombardment, when Francis Scott Key reached
the city with his poem, he couldn't find a single printer in any of the
shops who could put it up into type. They were all at the
barricades...whether they were in the militia or not.
So, it was appropriate that a poem and song celebrating the defense of the
city by its people against the best efforts of regular military and naval
forces seems appropriate became really popular in the early days of the
If the immigrant workers' movement today finds is usable, more power to
From: marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu] On Behalf Of sartesian
Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2006 3:41 PM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
Subject: Re: [Marxism] marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
This song is hardly a revolutionary anthem. It's origin, in the War of
1812 is hardly revolutionary, but rather inter-capitalist expansionary
conflict. The words were written to the tune of a popular drinking
song, how appropriate, and it wasn't made the national anthem until
1931-- depression era and the run up to World War 2.
So WTF, over? Little republic fighting for its life? Not hardly. That
was precisely not the issue in the War of 1812. Little slaveholder's
republic looking to aggrandize more territory north; and engaged in
stiff competition with Britain.
You want to trot out something from the Civil War? Then try "Battle
Hymn of the Republic," with the lyrics made more appropriate for today's
But let this drunken homage to the joys of capitalist expansionism stay
right where it belongs-- as a drunken homage to the joys of capitalist
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Lause" <MLause at cinci.rr.com>
To: "'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2006 2:58 PM
Subject: RE: [Marxism] marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> It took me no time at all to find some wonderful Civil War era German
> versions of the "Star-Spangled Banner," and I'd bet the only people
> objecting to it where trying to overturn the republic.... Hmmm, maybe
> so different, after all.
> In the end, the song that belongs to a revolutionary era where the
> American republic was fighting for its life against the biggest
> power of the day. How can its essence ever really belong to the most
> powerful empire on the planet?
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