American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860
Table of Contents
Music Copyrighted in Federal District Courts, ca. 1820-1860:
Patriotism and War
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POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
Foreign Politics
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Presidential elections, in later years the source of much campaign music, produced only a few pieces during these years. The only exception is William Henry Harrison's 1840 "Log-Cabin-and-Hard-Cider" campaign. No later campaign generated as many songs as Harrison's. There are no campaign songs for Harrison's opponent, Martin Van Buren, nor is there specific campaign music for presidents of the period 1830-40, although there are pieces about Andrew Jackson, the man, and a funeral march for John Quincy Adams. Martin Van Buren, president from 1837 to 1841, is represented by the dedication of a Free-Soil Party piece from 1848.

image: caption following
President Pierce's march and quick step
by B. R. Lignoski.

Winning candidates were celebrated as presidents and mourned at their passing. There are pieces both for Harrison's inaugural and for Harrison's death, which occurred a mere month into his presidency. His vice president and successor, John Tyler, is the subject of several pieces.

The amount of campaign music composed for the candidates in the 1844 and 1848 presidential elections did not necessarily signify the victor. For the 1844 campaign, Henry Clay generated more music than did James Polk, who nonetheless won the election. Some of this music celebrates Polk's presidency; he is also present, at least by implication, in the pieces about the Mexican War. The 1848 election has pieces supporting Zachary Taylor but none, at least in this collection, for his opponent Lewis Cass. Taylor as president is the subject of more pieces than any other president in the period represented in this collection; his death while in office provided more mourning pieces than were written for any other American in this collection. Taylor's vice president and successor, Millard Fillmore, is the subject of a few pieces.

There is relatively little campaign music for the elections of the 1850s. The 1852 elections saw a few pieces for Winfield Scott and a single piece for Franklin Pierce. Pierce's presidency, however, did produce some music. The 1856 election inspired little music for either Fremont or Buchanan. There is a pair of pieces about the election of 1856 in general, including a piece dedicated carefully to "the victorious candidate." A single piece is devoted to Buchanan's presidency.

Third parties also appear in this collection, notably the Know-Nothings of the mid-1850s. The Free Soil Party has far fewer pieces, although it does provide the single work on Martin Van Buren.


American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860