Francis Scott Key writes a poem on September 14, 1814 that is eventually adapted to music and becomes America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," in 1931. The poem, originally titled "The Defense of Fort M'Henry," was written after Key watched the British bombardment of the Maryland fort during the War of 1812. In the poem, he imagines what it would be like to be aboard a British warship during this attack.
Key did not intend for his poem to become America's national anthem, but it soon became popular among soldiers at Fort McHenry who sang it during attacks by the British fleet. After the war ended, Key wrote other poems that were also set to music and used as American anthems.
Here are the original lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner" as written by Francis Scott Key:
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the night
Like a million glittering diamonds, she stood.
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so proud and high
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is a poem composed by Francis Scott Key in 1814 that serves as the United States of America's national anthem. After watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland by British ships in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812, Key, a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, composed it. The song is often referred to by its first line: "Oh! Say can you see by the dawn's early light?".
Key wrote the poem within days of witnessing the bombardment. He later recalled, "It was midnight. The guns had ceased firing long before this. But I knew the Americans must be fighting for their lives with these songs on their lips."
Upon its publication in The National Intelligencer in September 1814, the poem quickly became popular among soldiers at the front lines. It also found favor with members of Congress and the public back home, many of whom believed that American blood should be shed as a protest against Britain's actions.
In October 1814, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams arranged for Key to travel to Washington, D.C. so he could read his poem before President James Madison and a joint session of Congress. Although not an official government position at the time, Adams made Key a civil servant by appointing him secretary for buildings and grounds at the Department of State.
Francis Scott Key wrote the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner" on September 14, 1814, after watching the enormous nighttime British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812.... The song was adopted as our national anthem in 1931.
Key's father was a doctor at the fort and knew some of the officers involved in its defense. His father encouraged him to write about his experiences for publication, which he did in a poem called "Annabel Lee." The poem was set to music when it was published in newspapers across the country under the title "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." It became so popular that it was often sung by groups of soldiers marching into battle.
After the war ended, Congress requested that Key submit the poem for use as our national anthem. He agreed, but added some new words to reflect the changing nature of America's fight for freedom. Today, "The Star-Spangled Banner" sounds more like today's national anthem than "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" does because Francis Scott Key wanted to show respect to the men who had served our nation in war by writing a poem that would be useful as an official national anthem.
The Battle of Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to create "The Star-Spangled Banner" on September 14, 1814. Mark Clague of the University of Michigan debunks some widespread fallacies concerning our national anthem.
Key was a lawyer living in Baltimore when he heard of the victory at the battle of Baltimore over the British during the War of 1812. He set about writing a poem that would celebrate this victory. But instead of writing a traditional poem with regular stanzas, he wrote what we now call an ode. And since there were no rules for odes back then, he had freedom to write how he wanted.
Here is how he described his inspiration: "In the course of my readings I came across some facts and figures which struck me as being very interesting. The number of shots fired by the Americans at Fort McHenry during the three days of bombardment was 1,776. The number of shots fired by the British during that same time was only 924. I wondered why there was such a difference. After thinking it over for a while, I concluded that it must be because not everyone who fired a shot at the fort was effective. So I decided to use this fact as the basis for a poem."
Fort McHenry was a small fortress located near the southern end of Baltimore Harbor.
Of fact, the national anthem originated as a poem penned in September 1814 by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the British attack of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812. (which ran until early 1815). The poem was set to music written by Joseph Philbrick Hume and published by Henry Hill & Co. in 1831.
Key's poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," was adopted as the national anthem on March 4, 1931. It had been proposed several times before that date, including by Key himself in 1829 and again two years later. However, it wasn't until May 8, 1931, that Congress approved the proposal and made it law.
The legislation authorizing the use of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as our national anthem also included instructions for having its text engraved on a gold medal which would be awarded to those who defended Washington from British attack at Fort McHenry. The medal was to be presented by President Herbert Hoover but since he died before it could be done, his successor Charles W. Harding has ordered the first one struck. It will be presented to Lieutenant James Monroe Bradley by Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson on February 13, 1932.
Monroe was the only person to meet the qualifications required by the statute: He had served with honor in the military defense of Washington against the British in 1814.