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iRumorMill.com Determination: Hoax
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:
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