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National Anthem Celebrates Slavery


Critics of American Patriotism allege that we should not sing the Star Spangled Banner because Francis Scott Key wrote racist lyrics in the song that celebrate slavery. Determination:  Hoax  

Francis Scott Key writing the Star Spangled Banner

The words "hirelings" and "slaves" does appear in the third verse of the Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, but the meaning of the words are not racists, nor do they celebrate slavery.

Hirelings was a term used by the British for mercenaries, soldiers of fortune who were paid to fight their battles.

"Slaves" may have been used to describe escaped slaves offered freedom by the British to take up arms against the Americans, according to a Aug. 31, 2016 article by CNN.

The word may have also referred to American seaman captured by the British and forced into labor on the British Naval ships. This according to a Sep. 1, 2016 article by the Independent Journal Review.

"There is a serious lack of academic and historical clarity about the meaning of this verse," the article said: 

"Houston Chronicle writer Kathleen McKinney cited the website American Historama in defense of an alternative explanation. Indeed it states: The Star Spangled Banner lyrics 'the hireling' refers to the British use of Mercenaries (German Hessians) in the American War of Independence The Star Spangled Banner lyrics '...and slave' is a direct reference to the British practice of Impressment (kidnapping American seamen and forcing them into service on British man-of war ships). This was a Important cause of the War of 1812 Francis Scott Key then describes the Star Spangled Banner as a symbol of triumph over all adversity."


The full lyrics of the National Anthem are posted below:


The Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!



Posted 09/03/16

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