The ugly reason ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ didn’t become our national anthem for a century

I didn’t know that there was another verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in which Francis Scott Key crowed that the British could not free American slaves.

" 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.

It seems that the British had offered freedom and land to any slaves in the Americas who fought on their side in the War of 1812. Key was saluting not only the flag still waving supporting slavery.

The British raised six companies of black men who were runaway slaves and resettled them in the Caribbean.

“[T]he British promised refuge to any enslaved Black people who escaped their enslavers, raising fears among White Americans of a large-scale revolt. The final provocation was that men who escaped their bonds of slavery were welcome to join the British Corps of Colonial Marines in exchange for land after their service. As many as 4,000 people, mostly from Virginia and Maryland, escaped.”

That background of 'The Star-Spangled Banner" and its war-like tone is why Congress put off naming it as the national anthem. However, Southern prevailed in giving the song national status.

“The elevation of the banner from popular song to official national anthem was a neo-Confederate political victory, and it was celebrated as such,” Morley wrote. “When supporters threw a victory parade in Baltimore in June 1931, the march was led by a color guard hoisting the Confederate flag.”


So, based on a verse nobody ever sings and the vast majority of people have never heard of, it’s racist.

Right, in someone’s revisionist history book. Not buying into this nonsense.

Let’s just say that those who wish to eradicate racism do not do their cause any favors whatsoever pushing this kind of junk, any more than they do by toppling Lincoln statues or smashing shop windows.


You know, I put out facts I was unaware of. The item happens to be additional details, not any revision of history. Do you have a problem with finding out details?

Your response sounds awfully defensive to me.


No, my response sounds like you posted a silly pot stirring article. And your response to me suggests that you are happy someone rose to your bait so you can now say derogatory things.

The mute button was made for threads and posts like this. I’m out.


I’m not sure about anger directed at this article or thread — just factual content. But I don’t believe we need to scrap the national anthem because of it.


Big deal :man_shrugging:t2:


Many people do not know the most common lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner let alone the “unknown version.” So, to quote the words of @Cruciferi, “big deal.”


Honestly, I wish one of the other patriotic songs were our national anthem, if nothing else because those stupid high notes are hard to reach and it’s undergone the worst perversions by celebrities at baseball games.

Otherwise, I appreciate the interesting article - something I didn’t know.


God Bless America would suffice :us: :latin_cross:


Well, pretty much every older anthem has questionable lyrics, and should probably be updated.

I would’ve thought that the delay in accepting it as the national anthem is more to do with the US losing the War of 1812. Definitely an odd starting point for a national anthem, particularly for a country that focuses so heavily on its military prowess.

That would be my choice as well. :slightly_smiling_face:


The US didn’t lose the war of 1812.


We did?



“While Canada, Britain and America could all claim to have won the War of 1812 with justification, the people who were here first – North America’s indigenous population — definitely lost.“

It really depends on who you ask and by what measures of success you use.


Isn’t it nice to know the whole history? The truth is the light and stuff like that?

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Thank you! And worse than that, I feel like this may actually be turning people INTO racists.


Kafka lives! Under that view, Sunday sermons are causing people to sin.

My parish would not play “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at services because it was considered too warlike. I kind of agree with that.

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“Americans were happy because they thought they had won; Canadians were happy because they knew they had won; and the British were happiest of all because they quickly forgot about the war.”


In 1814 we took a little trip
along with Col Jackson
down the mighty Mississip’
Took a little bacon
and we took a little beans
and we fought the bloody British
in a town called New Orleans.


Great song! :slightly_smiling_face:

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