The Star-Spangled Banner You Didn’t Hear During the World Series

President Herbert Hoover finally made it official in 1931, when “The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially declared our national anthem.  It’s as patriotic an anthem as it is difficult to sing, but we only sing the first verse at public events. I have to admit that I never paid much attention to the other three verses until I read Alan Taylor’s new book, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.

The third verse speaks directly to the British policy of liberating slaves in the Chesapeake region of Maryland and Virginia and their recruitment into the army.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The “land of the free and the home of the brave” takes on a whole new meaning after reading this verse. I suspect that you will never hear our anthem quite the same way.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

37 comments… add one
  • Mel Sep 28, 2017 @ 5:20

    I thought my head was going to explode! I find Johan’s post replies extremely diluted and personal agenda based. However I truly enjoyed reading the continuous volley despite the pain and constant urge to pull it all to a screeching halt with factual clarity.

  • Jimmy Dick Sep 18, 2016 @ 9:38

    Read the article. It clearly states that more blacks served the Patriot cause than the Loyalist cause. You keep trying to say something the facts do not support. I’m getting tired of pointing out your ignorance when all you do is make the same unsupported claims time after time. If you are uninterested in learning, then that’s your problem.

    There were very few if any armed black confederates. That has been proven repeatedly. So if you wish to continue to lie about that, go right ahead. The facts prove you dead wrong.

    The article I cited does show that Virginia did allow ARMED blacks to serve in the Continental Army. Try to use the reading comprehension skill if you have it. Most states allowed ARMED blacks to serve in their militias. They did not prohibit them during the Revolution. The states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia probably almost certainly did not allow armed blacks to serve as the article points out.

    Here’s the fun part. You keep making a claim that historians reject. You are nowhere near being a historian based on your really shoddy research and polemic interpretation. So why do you think historians make interpretations using facts that don’t match yours? It might be because the facts do not support your claims. So consider that before you post again.

    I will not be responding to anymore of your ignorant posts as I have people who want to learn in my classes that have earned my time. You on the other hand refuse to learn and as a result have wasted my time. Enjoy living in the echo chamber. Ciao!

  • Jimmy Dick Sep 17, 2016 @ 13:58

    Why don’t you post your version of the Militia Act passed in May of 1777? It allowed slave masters to use slaves as substitutes, but how many were slaves and how many were free men? Please recall that New Jersey’s Constitution passed in 1776 allowed free black men the right to vote. I also note that in the New Jersey Militia Act of 1775 that it did not specify the color of the men who served in the militia.

    Here is a site I am sure you will disagree with, but you might want to scroll down and see the list of sources before you begin to run your mouth.

    You may disagree with Ray, but I would suggest you come up with actual facts. Ray worked with facts. You didn’t.

    What this really is about is you trying to support your political ideology by cherry picking history. Unfortunately for you, the facts do not support your claims.

    Wanna try again? You keep striking out when you challenge historians…that might be because they use historical inquiry and research methods to develop their interpretations. You might want to try that before you leap to conclusions.

    • Johan Sep 18, 2016 @ 3:48

      Ummm, are you arguing against me or with me against someone else? Because you just admitted the Militia Act allowed substitutions (which was my point) and then the site you link to doesn’t cite 9,000 soldiers anywhere on it, and in fact admits that Virginia did not allow blacks to carry guns (and even has a horrible story of Virginian slaveowners like Washington/Henry/Jefferson re-enslaving a free black man in 1775).

      And in the link you have, which has sources I was already aware of (I’d cited those same sources earlier) the most generous number was “1,200 –1,500” blacks cited in the continental army at the tail end of the war (and this estimate was liable to be higher than reality due to it being a ballpark estimate by a european on the battlefield, hardly reliable).

      In the end it claims the same 5,000 black patriots that I had called “the most ridiculously pro-patriot historian estimate” in my earlier post, which if they admit most were unarmed, I can accept it as within the range of reason (including unarmed).

      But that is nowhere near the ridiculous 9,000 ARMED number you were bandying about! I pointed it out to you and now you post links proving my point, YOUR linked source admits of the 5,000 (such a lovely round number is always a great sign of an overly generous ballpark estimate), of those, 500 were Virginian blacks who were prohibited from arms (and many other states had similar laws).

      Again it is likely the number of ARMED black patriots was between 1,000 and 2,000.
      Still less than the number of loyalists, and less in number than the confederates.

      If you want to count UNARMED black soldiers, like the 500 virginians that site included (and Carolinian black soldiers were also similarly prohibited), then the comparison becomes even more lopsided as the confederates had over 100,000 black soldiers building fortifications, etc.

      And I resent your talk of “political ideology” when there is only ONE side with a political agenda here (the cult of the Founders) and even modern British historians usually take the Patriot line and criticize the British out of realpolitik now that America is the superpower and they are sucking up to her. There is no opposing historian school of thought to challenge these blatant over-estimations.

  • Ammon Baker Sep 16, 2016 @ 4:29

    You guys are awesome! I’ve learned more about this subject from your debate than I possibly could have ever learned from my other research. Thank you. Fascinating!

  • London John Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:18

    I don’t think it’s clear that the British would have abolished slavery if they’d won the war of American Independence. Slavery wasn’t abolished in the British West Indian colonies until nearly 60 years later. Altho different cdolonies could have different laws. But because the Americans won the War of Independence, the abolition of slavery in the British Empire didn’t threaten the supply of raw cotton to Lancashire, as it all came from the southern USA. So abolition might have been more difficult if the British had won.
    During the war I think the British tried to be too clever wrt slavery. They offered freedom to the slaves of Patriots while trying to keep Loyalist slaveowners on board – and some of the latter were enabled to take their slaves with them to the West Indies. So it wasn’t surprising the British tripped over their own feet in this respect. I imagine Lincoln must have attempted to learn from British mistakes, but I’ve never heard of his saying he had done so.
    Quite an interesting coverage of British policies towards American slavery during the war is in “Rough Crossings” by Simon Schama, IMO.
    But I think Samuel Johnson had Patrick Henry’s number: “how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?”.

    • Johan Aug 30, 2016 @ 10:11

      Apparently, you don’t know history. British declared all slaves in the rebelling colonies free. Lincoln copied the Emancipation Proclamation from the “Dunmore Proclamation” of Royal Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore.

      “Slavery wasn’t abolished in the British West Indian colonies until nearly 60 years later.” Again, the “West Indies” like Jamaica DID NOT REBEL against the crown! And “60 years later” is still 1832, nearly 34 years before America finally got rid of it. And it wasn’t a “cunning scheme”, what you are mentioning is slaveowners fleeing there BECAUSE the British had abolished it in the rebelling colonies. The same happened during the American civil war, some slaveowners crossed over to Union lines to keep their slaves (slavery remained legal in Union states like Maryland, for example), the ones who didn’t were because they had too much land to give up.

      And again, the West Indies did not rebel, so why would Britain forcibly end slavery abruptly instead of gradually over a longer period? Even most abolitionists in America prior to the Civil War often advocated for gradual abolishment (as a practical matter). And the West Indies’ economy was vastly more dependent on slavery than the US South, it was a deathblow to the West Indies, from which they’ve never recovered even 200 years later, the only industry keeping them afloat is tourism from Western nations. Whereas the Southern colonies could of adjusted (most of the economic malaise of the South from 1870-1960 was from the economic destruction of the war and then from anti-capitalist politics of the Democrats that ruled the South afterwards). Slavery had actually not taken as much root in the South yet in 1776 on such an industrial scale as it was by the time of the civil war.

      By the way, thanks for that line from Samuel Johnson, “how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?”.

      I’d never heard it, but I’ve been pointing it out myself. It’s probably part of the Hegelian dialectic on slavery, whereby the slavemaster is enslaved by his own fear of becoming a slave, and ever paranoid about his own freedom precisely because he sees another man in chains at his own doing.

      It would make sense why Patrick Henry used the imagery of slavery like “chains” in his quotes urging men to violently rebel for the very liberty he denied his slaves:

      “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
      -Patrick Henry

      Worth noting, the British had no such plans to enslave white American colonists. It was a total paranoid delusion of slavemasters. They had merely enacted a VERY tiny tax on tea to try and pay for the defense of the colonies. The slavemasters in their “olive branch” to Britain before independence demanded NO taxation and NO tariffs. Basically they wanted Britain to take care of the colonies, provide for defense, and get no revenue from it. Total leeches! And when forced to pay a tiny bit, they rebelled because they, as the Aristocracy and slavemasters, had no “say” in how the taxes were structured. Today, America is ruled by the Aristocracy completely (you have to be wealthy or famous, an Aristocrat, to spend months and millions on campaigning).

      P.S. the Devil is the Father of Rebellion and God is King of Kings. The Bible says to Honor the King (2 Peter) and “not use your liberty” as a cloak “of maliciousness”. It seems like the Bible predicted the Revolution and warned against it.

      • Jimmy Dick Aug 30, 2016 @ 14:48

        “Apparently, you don’t know history. British declared all slaves in the rebelling colonies free. Lincoln copied the Emancipation Proclamation from the “Dunmore Proclamation” of Royal Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore.”

        If you want to lecture us on history, try using the correct history.

        Great Britain did not free all slaves in the rebelling colonies. Search for a document that says that and you will come up empty because no such document exists. Only Parliament had that authority and they did no such thing. Lord Dunmore only freed slaves of rebels in Virginia as that was the only colony he had authority over. He did not authorize the freeing of slaves belonging to loyalists.

        Also, Dunmore only freed the slaves that “”all indented servants, Negroes, or others…free that are able and willing to bear arms…”

        It really helps if you plan on telling people about events in history that you actually read the documents you reference. Here you go!

        As for Lincoln using this proclamation of Dunmore, he may have, but if he did, he went one step further. He freed all the slaves of the slave owners in areas not under Union control as specified in the document whether they could bear arms for the Union or not.

        You could have looked up information on what took place in the War of 1812 in Alan Taylor’s The Internal Enemy and found out what took place during that conflict when the British freed slaves. You could have used Linda Colley’s Britons to reference what took place with Britain freeing slaves in the 19th century in the West Indies. It would have shown you that you were wrong.

        Primary and secondary sources are very good sources of information. Use them.

        • Johan Aug 30, 2016 @ 15:47

          Bit of a red herring. Yes Britain didn’t free all the slaves, because Lord Dunmore and the British lost the revolution. Dunmore, after his Dunmore Proclamation, was forced out by the rebels, so he had to cease taking in new slaves. But it promised freedom to all slaves who crossed over the British lines and supported the British war effort.

          You also seem uninformed that there was another Proclamation that freed ALL SLAVES from rebelling slaveowners. It was called the “Philipsburg Proclamation”, which FREED all slaves of the rebel forces, REGARDLESS if they crossed to British lines or served the war effort.

          So this CLEARLY sets forth a PROMISE by the British that all slaves of rebel slaveowners (same as Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation which only set free slaves of rebelling states that didn’t return by a deadline, but Lincoln actually promised to protect slavery if the states took up the offer and returned to the union).

          Whereas the Philipsburg Proclamation clearly declared ALL slaves of the Patriot rebels to be free REGARDLESS of if they wanted to help the British war effort (i.e. Washington’s 300+ slaves, Jefferson’s 600+ slaves, etc.) and the only reason they weren’t all freed was there were not enough loyalist forces to provide them a safe space to live or ships to transport them away from the hostile colonies.

        • Johan Aug 30, 2016 @ 15:53

          And I’d just like to add that any serious historian would understand the British intended to free the slaves, having issued MULTIPLE Proclamations freeing slaves including the Philipsburg Proclamation freeing ALL slaves from rebelling areas.

          Not to mention, IF the British won the war, they would be faced with a hostile populace to govern. The BEST way to maintain control for the British would be to free the slaves, at the very least all slaves of rebelling slaveowners (the vast majority of slaveowners rebelled).

          By doing so, the British would have added a new 20% or 30% of the population that would be extremely loyalist, and those freed blacks would be able to shame the rebels for their hypocrisy and point to Britain as the true defender of liberty (indeed the liberator of slaves!).

          • Jimmy Dick Aug 30, 2016 @ 18:52

            Once again you miss the mark. Sir Henry Clinton issued that proclamation in his role as commander of the British Army in the colonies in 1779. However, he also ordered slaves returned to their masters when too many reached British lines.

            What you are trying to do is make history fit your beliefs. It won’t do that. You say the British wanted to free the slaves permanently? Explain the Treaty of Paris (1783), specifically the part where British forces were to return escaped slaves to their owners.

            The British were only interested in disrupting the American ability to wage war, not to free slaves and end slavery as a system. That would come later and in many ways as a direct result of the Revolution through British experiences.

            So when you say any serious historian would understand the British intended to free the slaves, what you are really meaning to say is that you have an opinion that is not supported by other historians, but they should support your opinion. However, they do not support your opinion. In fact, they say something else. Maybe that’s because they use ALL the facts and do not cherry pick to suit an ideology.

            You should think about that before you try to tell historians what history is.

            • Johan Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:17

              I didn’t miss the mark. You seem to be the one trying to whitewash the slavemaster rebellion and pretend it was some “beautiful” thing. Do you not concede that Dunmore’s Royal Ethiopian Regiment, consisting of former slaves (including some of Patrick Henry’s) formed in May 1776 which put “Liberty to Slaves” on their uniforms, to mock the slavemasters, was not the instigating factor that made Virginian slavemaster Patrick Henry call for “independency” in June 1776? Then his fellow Virginian slavemaster Thomas Jefferson in June 1776 started writing the Declaration of Independence.

              The Treaty of Paris (1783) you cited is because Britain LOST THE WAR, so yes, to please the slavemaster Americans, they returned some of the slaves. In War of 1812, Britain actually refused America’s demands to return “property”, about 6,000 slaves.

              • Jimmy Dick Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:44

                Yes, the British refused to return slaves after the War of 1812. Why? Their perceptions of slavery had changed since the Revolution. Ironically in the Southern states, the War of 1812 helped to reinforce slavery and exposed sectional differences regarding it.

                Whitewash? I find that hilarious. You keep making guesses and cherry picking facts to support your opinion, but keep missing the mark. Here’s a hint. Go learn how historians work.

                Patrick Henry was calling for independence far earlier than 1776. Look up the Gunpowder Plot of 1775. He was accused of treason in 1765 for his responses to the Stamp Act.

                If you want to explain history to historians, you better use all of it. Otherwise you are going to get laughed out of the room like you are right now.

          • Jimmy Dick Aug 30, 2016 @ 18:59

            You might want to visit this site:

            The subject of Black Loyalists, who obviously definitely existed, is a wonderful part of history. So is the story of the black patriots who fought for the Continental Army. However, these facts are all part of the much large mosaic that made up the Revolution which itself would set a course towards the ending of slavery in the US eight decades later.

            • Johan Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:28

              It’s also noting that when they withdrew from Savannah and Charleston, the British took even several thousand slaves from LOYALIST slavemasters and gave them freedom and evacuated them from the colonies.

              The fact they did that, shows their true intent, is in line with the Philipsburg Proclamation and their obvious intention of freeing all the slaves.

              Again, if Britain WON, they would need a large loyalist population, and they would of freed the slaves, even if only to bolster the number of loyalists, and to create a large population that would shun and shame the rebels similar to how the Confederate flag is shunned today by peoples freed via a Proclamation on the winning side of that war, and the fact the Confederacy offered to free the slaves to the British, or that the Confederacy had black soldiers fighting on their side, is still not enough to make blacks today view them favorably. Indeed more blacks fought for the Confederacy than for the Patriot side in the Revolution, and the Patriots NEVER offered to end slavery (whereas the Confederates offered to end slavery in exchange for British military support, but Britain did not want to get involved).

              Anything negative you can say about the Confederates applies tenfold to the American Revolution. But a few positives (they offered to end slavery, more black soldiers proportionally speaking, that it was a “legal” rebellion since it was a rebellion from a country created by rebellion and which had declared rebellion a “right”, etc.) can be said of the CSA that can’t of the American rebels.

              • Kevin Levin Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:35

                But a few positives (they offered to end slavery…

                If you are referring to the Confederacy than you are completely wrong. The enlistment legislation was not a policy of emancipation. In fact, many of the people who eventually agreed to enlisting slaves did so because they believed that slavery could still be preserved.

                • London John Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:58

                  I assume he’s referring to a last desperate (and hopeless) attempt by the Confederates to negotiate British and French recognition and assistance when their defeat was inevitable. The poor grasp on reality of the Confederates wrt the European powers is consistent.

                  • Johan Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:38

                    Even you admit that occurred, that the Confederates did offer to end slavery in exchange for recognition and assistance. America made no such offers in exchange for French assistance for example.

                    And are you actually trying to argue the British/French never would of intervened? They both, at different times, wanted to intervene: British came very close during the Trent affair in 1861 and Napoleon III came close after one of the main opponents of recognition, Édouard Thouvenel resigned in 1862.

                    The problem was the French weren’t willing to recognize and assist the CSA without the assistance of Britain, and yes, the CSA’s offers to end slavery came “too late” in the game, but you have to realize they basically were offering to destroy their own economy, so of course it would require some desperation.

                    Are you to argue the American revolution was never that desperate? I’d argue it was MORE desperate at points, it just had a lucky turnaround with the French assistance that it got without ever offering to end slavery.

                    • Jimmy Dick Aug 31, 2016 @ 14:58

                      The British and French entertained the idea for a bit, but never got serious about recognizing the Confederacy at any point in the Civil War. The Trent affair was the closest they got and even that was mostly hot air. The British were in no position to wage a war with the US. Some of the more martially inclined officers developed plans, but they came to naught. The Confederacy was on its own and as we know from history, it failed.

                    • Kevin Levin Aug 31, 2016 @ 15:02

                      Amanda Foreman demolished this idea in her recent book. William C. Davis wrote a convincing essay some years ago in one of his edited collections showing neither England or France was ever close to recognizing the Confederacy. Even R.E. Lee understood that they were on their own.

              • Jimmy Dick Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:50

                Show me the proof that more blacks fought for the Confederacy. Show us the proof that any fought for the Confederacy. I think we can see what you are trying to do here. You want to give the Confederacy legitimacy via the Revolution. Not happening. Two separate events for two totally different sets of reasons.

                You are just repeating old and worn out Lost Cause garbage now. Come back when you have actual facts.

                • Johan Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:48

                  First off, I approve of neither America nor the Confederacy. So no, you do not “see what I am trying to do” here, which is TELL THE TRUTH, unlike the people here who are trying to save “hireling and slave” means anything OTHER than the Hessians and black freed slaves fighting for the British that made up a huge part of the loyalist forces in the colonies.

                  As for black soldiers, even the most negative sources, like Henry Louis Gates Jr. (no friend of confederates) and black media generally recognize some black soldiers served:

                  They estimate 3,000 and 6,000 served as confederate soldiers. Still less than 1% of the total blacks in the CSA, so yes it was not a widespread policy.

                  And including laborers (slaves and free) there was another 100,000 blacks who built fortifications and did other military work for the Confederacy.

                  However, as I said, THAT IS STILL MORE THAN SERVED IN THE PATRIOT ARMY.

                  Even the most generous Patriot historians only credit “5,000 blacks fighting for the Patriots”, not mentioning that INCLUDES slaves who were fighting along WITH their slavemasters and who were still slaves AFTER the war and includes many slaves who were just building entrenchments (similar to the 100,000 number).

                  If you look at FREE blacks serving as actual gun-shooting soldiers, there were likely less than 1,000.

                  The most ridiculously pro-patriot historians estimate 5,000 and I’ve seen a few go as high as 8,000, but they use NONcombatants AND slaves in those figures.

                  So compare that to Confederates, even from hostile historians, which cite 3,000 to 6,000 soldiers (Neoconfederates will claim 20,000+ fought for the confederacy which I don’t accept either), and 100,000+ to 150,000 that worked as noncombatants.

                  So yes, I was right. Do some research.

                  • Kevin Levin Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:51

                    First, it was John Stauffer who authored the essay for the Root and as I show his “research” is fundamentally flawed.

                    There is no evidence that 3-6,000 black men fought as soldiers in the Confederate army.

                    • Johan Aug 31, 2016 @ 13:06

                      There is evidence even in your own post, you acknowledge those reports are real, you just choose to dismiss them completely.

                      I agree that the Confederates did not want to treat them as “equals” and dignify them as “soldiers” on par with whites.

                      But surely you do not dispute that there were tens of thousands of slaves, accompanying their slavemasters who were fighting the battles, such as the 100,000+ you yourself acknowledge built battleworks, dug trenches, manned batteries, etc.

                      If 5,000 or 10,000 of them were armed at any point and took part in the battle, it would not be something the confederates encouraged, but as an act of desperation.

                      Nonetheless, it is still extremely likely that more blacks, numerically, fought for the Confederacy both as soldiers and as noncombatants (definitely proven for noncombatants) than for the American Revolution, which started out with less than 50 free blacks on the patriot side and most of the blacks fighting for the patriots were slaves, some freed were re-enslaved after, and many of them were “subsititutes”, like in New Jersey’s Militia Act of May 1777 which allowed slavemasters to use slaves as “substitutes” so they didn’t have to fight.

                    • Kevin Levin Aug 31, 2016 @ 13:10

                      But surely you do not dispute that there were tens of thousands of slaves, accompanying their slavemasters who were fighting the battles, such as the 100,000+ you yourself acknowledge built battleworks, dug trenches, manned batteries, etc.

                      If 5,000 or 10,000 of them were armed at any point and took part in the battle, it would not be something the confederates encouraged, but as an act of desperation.

                      Yes, there were thousands of black men present in the Confederate army as camp slaves and impressed slaves. Free blacks were also present, but none of these men were counted as SOLDIERS before March 1865. It is a distinction that mattered to Confederates and one that has been completely lost in recent years.

                      Certainly, no one in the Confederacy was aware that such numbers were serving as soldiers between 1861 and 1865.

                  • Jimmy Dick Aug 31, 2016 @ 14:50

                    Research? Not really. Gary Nash and Ray Raphael estimate around 9000 armed black patriot soldiers PLUS thousands of others who served in non-combatant roles. Both historians say there were more black patriot soldiers than black loyalists.

                    It is sort of ironic that you advocate the existence of so many black confederates of which no proof exists while trying to downplay the numbers of black patriots of whom proof does exist.

                    Then you ignore historians and make up your own version of history with no evidence to back it up.

                    Gary Nash’s work is in several books. You can read more about what he said on black patriots in The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution. Ray Raphael’s work is also in several books including A People’s History of the American Revolution.

                    You are really out of your depth here and are now making wild claims based on flawed research.

                    Also, there were roughly around 500,000 slaves in the colonies at the start of the American Revolution compared to 4,000,000 at the start of the Civil War in the US. The percentages don’t work in your favor. In fact, they seem to suggest the opposite.

                    • Johan Sep 16, 2016 @ 18:25

                      First off, many of the patriot soldiers were slaves forced to fight by masters using them as substitutes for themselves. See the New Jersey’s Militia Act of May 1777 for example.

                      Second, the Ray Raphael number of 9,000 ARMED patriot soldiers is the very DEFINITION of making “up your own version of history with no evidence to back it up.”.

                      There is NO evidence of anywhere NEAR that number. It is a complete fabrication. There are no records to indicate anywhere near that. There were indeed several hundred black patriots for sure, but there is no evidence to support the 9,000 figure which seems created solely to pretend there were more black patriots than loyalists. There is no real “loyalist” cause anymore since Britain is democratized and Americanized today, so the historical debate is unfortunately getting skewed by an extreme patriotic bias on both sides of the Atlantic ironically.

                      Again you want evidence, but give none yourself. Where are the rolls with these soldiers names? What is the evidence?

  • Michael Edwards May 30, 2016 @ 7:18

    I think James Kabala is correct. Unless Mr Key referred to your interpretation as the meaning of his song, I find it difficult to think he was gloating over literal killed slaves. Hirelings and slaves sound like terms an early American would use for British invaders.

    • Johan May 30, 2016 @ 7:39

      Just because you “find it difficult” to believe doesn’t make it so. Francis Scott Key was strongly pro-slavery.

      If Francis Scott Key had known the civil war that was coming, and if he had known his own grandson would be imprisoned in that VERY SAME Fort McHenry “where our flag was still there”, for being a reporter who spoke out against the suspension of the Constitution in Baltimore (Lincoln declared martial law, suspended Habeas Corpus, etc.). If Francis Scott Key had known the future, he would not have written the “Star Spangled Banner” and likely would of joined forces with the British.

      How ironic history is…

    • Rob Baker Aug 29, 2016 @ 17:34

      Especially true when you consider the fact that the British used regular soldiers. America, on the other hand, relied to heavily on the citizen soldier (militia). Americans saw this model as the true example and defense of liberty.

      • Johan Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:39

        Nonsense Rob, it is very clear that Francis Scott Key, like many other Americans of the time, tried to impugn the honor of the British army by saying that was an army made up of mostly Hessians (Hirelings) and black slaves (slaves). It is VERY clear. Francis Scott Key was himself extremely pro-slavery. His grandson was writing articles against Lincoln in the civil war, and IRONICALLY imprisoned in the same Fort McHenry where “our flag was still there” and told he would be given his freedom if only he pledged allegiance to Lincoln. His grandson refused to pledge loyalty to the Union or Lincoln and was left to rot in Fort McHenry.

        What true irony! It’s like Francis Scott Key wouldn’t have wrote the Star Spangled Banner so glowingly had he known the future, that slavemasters would have to fight the new government they created, and that his own grandson would be imprisoned in the Fort McHenry he wrote so glowingly of!

  • James Kabala Nov 3, 2013 @ 20:28

    Hmm – the verse is difficult to parse, but I think the “slave[s]” are supposed to be the same group as the “hireling[s]” (a traditional insult toward professional soldiers serving for money as opposed to militia serving for patriotism) – in other words, slaves of British tyranny, not actual slaves. It seems like a case of unconscious irony rather than openly gloating over recaptured slaves. But I could be wrong.

    • Johan May 11, 2015 @ 17:45

      You are wrong. The verse is saying those slaves will be running away in fear or dead in the grave. The American anthem would NOT imply that America has no chance and Americans will all run away or die. Basically it’s a proud anthem saying “we’re going to kill all those hirelings (mercenaries) and slaves” It is referring to the fact that in the Revolution and the War of 1812, many American slaves escaped to join the British army who gave them freedom. If the British won either war, slavery would have been abolished (as a practical matter, they needed a large loyalist population and freed slaves generally remained loyalist their entire lives).

      You have to understand most American colonists both in the American Revolution and 1812 viewed the British Army as made up of mostly “hirelings”, specifically German Hessians, and runaway fugitive slaves who joined the British who gave them freedom. The Royal Ethiopian Regiment mockingly adopted the motto “Liberty to Slaves” in 1776, and Patrick Henry called for “Independency” in June 1776 because of Lord Dunmore freeing the black slaves and arming them and the mocking insult motto put on their jackets (our Romulus and Remus style “Founding Fathers” worshiped Lady Liberty, the pagan Goddess Libertas). Within days, his fellow Virginian slaveowner Thomas Jefferson began writing and finished the Declaration of Independence in June 1776 (published July 4th), and Jefferson wrote a few lines trying to blame slavery on the British King (like “we don’t want to have slaves, you made us do it!”) but the Continental Congress forced Jefferson to delete those lines because they didn’t want to appear to be against slavery. Think about that for a minute. These hypocrites yelling for “liberty”, basically censored any lines that might be seen as being even the slightest against slavery, from our DECLARATION of Independence which said “all men are created equal”… except those darn slaves and native injun savages! Such was the American colonist of the time.

    • Brian Lewis Aug 29, 2016 @ 8:04

      I find it interesting that you just made up something that was not the intention of the verse regarding slaves. It was because black people were slaves and the British promised their freedom if they fought against their oppressors. I say the Star Spangled banner get tossed in the trash where it belongs.

      • Johan Aug 29, 2016 @ 12:13

        I agree Brian he made up something.

        But as much as I am a loyalist who would of preferred the British won the war and freed the slaves, at the same time we can’t just say to toss the star spangled banner in the trash (as much as I am no fan of that flag).

        I believe that America’s future, the white man’s future, will depend on whether the black man will forgive the white man. If forgiveness cannot be had, all that can follow is more bloodshed, civil war, and separation. If you are an advocate for a separate black nation, I can respect that, so long as it’s done peacefully. But many today just advocate violence in the streets, shooting cops, etc. That’s not the solution.

        The only good solutions, as with when a spouse cheats on you, are either forgiveness or separation if you can’t forgive.

  • grandadfromthehills Nov 3, 2013 @ 20:00

    Interesting. We do have some skeletons in our closet. One that truely disturbs me is Wounded Knee. However, we cannot let our past hold us back from what we need to do. An old saying here in Texas is that you cannot stop a good man doing the right thing that just keeps on coming. Some Ranger uttered that about bringing law into lawless towns.

    Just keep doing what’s right!

    Sam Vanderburg
    Gun Barrel City, TX

    • Kevin Levin Nov 4, 2013 @ 2:02

      Let me be clear, this post is not meant to point out our “skeletons” but to simply point out an aspect of a song that is rarely acknowledged.

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