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The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Transcript of The Battle Hymn of the Republic
"John Brown's Body"
Julia Warde Howe, 1861
Abolitionist Analysis Spiritualized purpose
Preserving the Union, defeating slavery
Viewed as righteous; God's will.
God's judgment and truth 'March on'
Fervor of the soldiers to carry out their duty
"Day of Jehovah"
Day of vengeance and purification related to the Old Testament and Revelation (Snyder 233) Lyrics appeared in Martin Luther's King speech "How long, Not Long"
Kings last public words were from the Battle Hymn "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
9/11 attacks funeral service
Pope Benedict met George Bush in 2008 Modern Day Applications The Battle Hymn of the Republic English 323 Content "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" Growing tensions over slavery and the Union
Outbreak of the Civil War Verse 1
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
-Bible's New Testament
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
-Truth is an aspect of Christianity Verse #2 -Image of soldiers rallying around a campfire
- God's omnipresence, leadership with the soldiers
-Altar of worship - Old Testament reference
- War is bringing judgment for sins of the nation
"Special Providence" to rightly win the war (Snyder 233) I have seen Him in the watchfires; Of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar; In the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence; By the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on. Verse #3 I have read a fiery gospel writ;
In burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with My contemners,
So with you My grace shall deal":
Let the Hero born of woman
Crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on. Rows of guns seen by Mrs. Howe
Even though grace is popular in New Testament, reads more like the Old Testament
"punish without grace those who have scorned me, and I will pour out my grace on you without stint" (Snyder 236)
Distortion of familiar Bible passage, Gen 3
"crush" not "bruise"
"hero" not found in Bible
Reference to "Day of Jehovah"
Emphasizing preparation for battle Verse #4 Verse #3... He has sounded forth the trumpet; That shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men; Before His judgement seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; Be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on. The use of trumpet may be a reference to Revelation, in which seven different trumpets sound the events of judgement day in the Bible. This verse also discusses "His judgement," so there is a possible connection
The seven trumpets are seen as a wake-up call for sinners, a sign to repent for judgement is at hand. Inspirational to the soldiers because they believe they are enacting God's judgment. In the beauty of the lilies; Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom; That transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, Let us die to make men free; hile God is marching on. Draws comparisons of the work of the Union to Jesus "Transfigures" is used, a word which invokes a transformation into something more beautiful or perfect, which the soldiers must believe they are creating in the new republic.
"As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free"-
a comparison of the sacrifices of the Union to the sacrifice of Jesus Verse #5 Chorus Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on. Works Cited —. “Battle Hymn of the Republic (Julia Ward Howe/William Steffe) (1861).” Folk Archive. n.p., n.d. Web. http://www.folkarchive.de/battle.html
—. “John Brown's Body/The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe.” Library of Congress. n.p., n.d. Web. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/lyrical/songs/john_brown.html
Snyder, Edward D. "The Biblical Background of the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.'" The New England Quarterly 24.2 (1951): 231-238. Print. Developed into many other Civil War songs using same melody and different lyrics
"Marching Song of the First Arkansas" was written for a volunteer regiment of African American Soldiers in Helena, Arkansas in 1864
The song focuses much more on how the regiment will defeat the South, "we mean to show Jeff Davis how the Africans can fight!"
Also full of Biblical references, such as "Father Abraham," a comparison of Abraham Lincoln to Abraham of the Bible, the symbolic father of all nations Hallelujah= "Praise the Lord"