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Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Inspired by a visit to the union army camp, the American Unitarian and slavery reformer Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

She scribbled the words at night, in the darkness of her tent, to the melody of John Brown's Body.

It includes the line “As he (Christ) died to make men holy, let us die to make men free”, which is an explicit reference to the fight to end slavery.

During the Civil War song publishers turned out many war songs. Union soldiers sang Battle Hymn of the Republic, while the favorite Confederate song was Dixie.

Minstrel troupes continued to perform the song long after the Civil War.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

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