American history is reflected in this collection both in songs and in instrumental pieces such as marches and dances for the piano--hereafter treated interchangeably. Many pieces reflect patriotism. Some of these pieces are old favorites such as Yankee Doodle. Hail Columbia, The Star-Spangled Banner, and Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean, There are new songs, of which the most successful was William Vincent Wallace's setting of George Pope Morris's The Flag of Our Union. And, there are several extended Odes for the Fourth of July.
Young America's schottisch
by Francis H. Brown.
The songs reflect issues and events of the times. Not all the songs invoking the Union are simple patriotic songs. Many of these songs have as subtext Andrew Jackson's 1829 toast "Our Federal union: it must be preserved." These songs were written in answer, to the threats of Southern secession which occurred periodically during the years of this collection. Southern separatism is represented by a single piece, Southern Rights March.
The historical event most heavily represented in this collection is the
of 1846-48. Most songs were celebratory, although
"Eight Dollars a Day"
castigates the war as a "war for
slavery." Songs also celebrate the American generals who fought in the war, notably
There also is one piece
for his part in the war. (Taylor and Scott are also
represented by campaign songs, discussed below.) There are a few pieces on
apart from the
The Star-Spangled Banner
is the best-known piece celebrating the
War of 1812;
there are a few more pieces on that war as well as
some on the