Historical Background


Beginning and End of Unit Activities; Assessment Strategies

"No Irish Need Apply"
John F. Poole, 1862
A lament against Irish discrimination in America

"The New America"
Words by Elizabeth Boynton Harbert; tune "America, 1891"
A request for equality for women

"Going to the Polls"
Words by Julia B. Nelson; tune "Comin' Thro' the Rye," 1884
A song that asks for the justification behind denying women suffrage

"The Stars and Stripes Forever"
John Philip Sousa, c. 1897
A patriotic march by America's most famous bandmaster

"Break the News to Mother"
Charles K. Harris, 1897
A sentimental parlor song made popular by the explosion of the USS Maine

"John Henry"
Traditional, c. 1870s
A folk song pitting a hero against a modern machine

"Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill"
Thomas F. Casey, 1888
A comic song about the dangers of steam drilling

"The Farmer Is the Man"
Anonymous, c. 1880s
A declaration of the value and primacy of the American farmer

"Arwhoolie" (Corn Field Holler)
An African American field call

"Mule Skinner Blues"
Traditional, c. 1890s
A traditional African American work blues song

"Father's a Drunkard, and Mother is Dead"
Words by Nellie H. Bradley; music by Mrs. E.A. Parkhurst, 1866
A temperance song about the innocent victims of alcoholism

"The Bowery"
Words by Percy Gaunt; music by Charles H. Hoyt, 1891
A musical theatre hit about New York's most notorious district

"Thousands are Sailing to Amerikay"
Anonymous, 1870s
An Irish song about the people immigrants leave behind

"Home on the Range"
Words by Dr. Brewster Higley; music by Daniel E. Kelley, 1876
The first quintessential cowboy song

"Crossing the Grand Sierras"
Henry Clay Work, 1870
A glee about the joy of transcontinental train travel

"I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"
Thomas P. Westendorf, 1875
An immigrant expresses his desire to return to his homeland

"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"
James Bland, 1878
The former state song of Virginia in which a freed person longs for plantation life

"Sun Dance Song"
A Plains Indian song and dance

"America the Beautiful"
Words by Katherine Lee Bates; music by Samuel Ward, 1893-1913
A celebration of America's beauty and wonders

"Onward, Christian Soldiers"
Words by Sabine Baring-Gould; music by Sir Arthur Sullivan, 1865–71
A stirring hymn asking for charity and altruism

"Before I'd Be a Slave (Oh, Freedom)"
William E. Barton, 1899
A moving spiritual about strength and resilience

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