Lyrics to National Antham

Discussion in 'Our National Anthem' started by salexander, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. salexander

    salexander New Member

    I am new to the site and noticed in the 4th stanza in the last sentence:

    Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,........

    I am almost sure that when I memorized this in the 6th grade (1963) it was:

    Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just...........

    Am I mistaken??
     
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hi! On this web page at the Library of Congress

    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/vc05112x.jpg

    you can view the original lyrics of the "Star Spangled Banner," in Key's own handwriting. As you can see, it's "when" not "for." There's also an early printed copy here

    Star-Spangled Banner (Memory): American Treasures of the Library of Congress

    that shows the same thing.

    Note that there *are* some differences between the two. In Key's handwritten draft, the third verse starts out "And where is that host . . .," while in the printed version it's "And where is that band . . . "

    Peter Ansoff
     
  3. Hcardahs1

    Hcardahs1 New Member

    Peter Ansoff, the first link you posted above, I'm sorry to say, is an obvious fraud. When he wrote what we now know as The Star-Spangled Banned, Francis Scott Key titled it "The Defence of Fort M'Henry." The link posted above goes to something with the hand written title, "The Star-Spangled Banner." Key's poem was not known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" until after F. Scott Fitzgerald set it to music and re-titled it. Somebody, somewhere wants us to believe that the document you linked to is Francis Scott Key's original hand written draft of the poem, but they were not familiar enough with the history of the poem to use Francis Scott Key's title to their forgery. There has been a movement since the late 1970s to replace the line "...for our cause it is just" with the line "...when our cause it is just." Adherents to this movement have gone so far as to forge documents and make claims that the line was always "...when our cause it is just." That, however is not the case. The original writing was, "...for our cause it is just."
     
  4. salexander

    salexander New Member

    Thank you for the clear answer to my query! I have been very concerned as the change in that preposition makes a significant variance to the meaning of the sentence (i.e. weakening our resolve as determined by the individual's assessment of the cause), which is definitely counterproductive. I appreciate your response.
     
  5. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Peter Ansoff, the first link you posted above, I'm sorry to say, is an obvious fraud.

    No, it's not a fraud, or at least not an obvious one. It is a handwritten manuscript by Key, in the Library of Congress collection. However, Key wrote it in the 1840s, late in his life, so you're correct that it's not a first draft.

    Key's poem was not known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" until after F. Scott Fitzgerald set it to music and re-titled it.

    Not true. The same LOC web site (see the second link in my post) has sheet music printed by Thomas Carr in 1814, and it's clearly titled "The Star-Spangled Banner."

    Somebody, somewhere wants us to believe that the document you linked to is Francis Scott Key's original hand written draft of the poem, but they were not familiar enough with the history of the poem to use Francis Scott Key's title to their forgery.

    I think that the Library of Congress is wiser than that! (-;

    The original writing was, "...for our cause it is just."

    What is your evidence for this statement? Both Key's manuscript and the 1814 sheet music say "when," not "for." So does the original "Defence of Fort M'Henry" broadside, which you can view on the Maryland Historical Society site here:

    SSB - Full Page Sample - Digital Archives

    There has been a movement since the late 1970s to replace the line "...for our cause it is just" with the line "...when our cause it is just." Adherents to this movement have gone so far as to forge documents and make claims that the line was always "...when our cause it is just."

    It appears to me that the exact opposite is true. The evidence is pretty clear that Key wrote "when" not "for." Also, "adherents" have been trying to change Key's words since long before the 1970s. The author of a 1930 book about the American flag commented: "The last stanza is often sung and even printed 'Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.' But it should be in the preferable form in which Key wrote it: 'Then conquer we must when our cause it is just.'"

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
     
  6. Hcardahs1

    Hcardahs1 New Member

    you can view the original lyrics of the "Star Spangled Banner," in Key's own handwriting.

    Key wrote it in the 1840s, late in his life, so you're correct that it's not a first draft.

    These two statements are contradictory. In the first statement, you use the word "original" which means the very first. In the second statement you state outright that it is NOT the first. So which is it?

    Next, don't know what I was thinking when I made the F. Scott Fitzgerald comment...I was probably trying to do twenty things at once and got them mixed up. I do that sometimes. :-/ However, as you noted, there are differences between the printed sheet music and the handwritten copy. How many changes crept in even within one year of the writing of the original poem? Is Francis Scott Key's 1840 handwritten draft the one that is wrong, or is the printed sheet music the one that is wrong, or are they both wrong?

    I think that the Library of Congress is wiser than that! (-;

    You are right, there are absolutely no political hacks in Washington D.C. who would be willing to go so far as to break the law to advance their political agenda. And if there were, they would never get to a high level position where they had the ability to replace documents at the Library of Congress with copies and/or forgeries. Right, Sandy Berger? I mean, how would they get the documents out, shove them down their pants or something?

    Frankly, because Washington D.C. is run by political hacks who all seek to attain the highest level position they can, including director of the Library of Congress, I am far less likely to trust what Washingtonian institutions are telling me than virtually anything else (except maybe UN institutions)!

    What is your evidence for this statement?

    Sadly, I have no physical evidence to support my claim...I could be a conspiracy theorist and say that all the real evidence has been destroyed, but I won't go that far. I have performed with a few different choirs that sang all the verses of the Star Spangled Banner, and in each one, I--along with the rest of the choir--was informed by the director that the original wording was "...for our cause...," but that this wording was politically incorrect, and choirs were starting to sing "...when our cause..." So perhaps multiple different, independent sources are wrong, or perhaps there is a conspiracy (I wouldn't put it past Washington), I guess we don't really know for sure.

    Both Key's manuscript and the 1814 sheet music say "when," not "for."

    Perhaps better stated: The documents Washington D.C. has and claims are both Key's manuscript and the 1814 sheet music say "when," not "for." Not because anyone believes the documents in question actually have been tampered with, but because the possibility exists that they could have been tampered with. That said, you do seem to have a great deal of evidence on your side (mostly all from the same questionable source), and I only have the testimony of multiple, independent sources, all of whose knowledge in the area is at least as questionable as your sources. That being said, the existing evidence does seem to support your stance on the issue. So, how did the phrase "...for our cause..." ever come into usage?
     
  7. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    :confused:

    Mr. Ansoff can certainly speak for himself, but it was quite clear to me that he was saying that in the 1840's Mr. Key penned a copy of his 1814 poem following his original lyrics.:)

    I expect that Mr. Key still knew what he intended to say in 1814 even though he created that copy some 30 years later.

    Nick
     
  8. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    GREETINGS, One & All !!! :D


    IF, and that's a BIG "if", I remember correctly, a number of newspapers, large and small, printed Mr. Key's poem VERBATIM within a few days of it's being published shortly after it was written. Or maybe it was only a few newspapers. :eek:

    Either way, I wonder if there exists any remaining copies of those newspapers with the poem inked into their 196 year old paper ???

    IF there are, I wonder how the poem reads? :cool:


    Just wondering . . . . . :rolleyes:


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  9. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hcardahs1 and all,

    The following is a summary of the earliest versions of the SSB:

    1. The earliest known copy of the lyrics was hand witten by Key himself, probably the day after the battle. The original is at the Maryland Historical Society. An image is available on the Smithsonian site here:

    NMAH | The Lyrics

    and there is a printed image on page 32 of Lonn Taylor's book "The Star Spangled Banner."

    2. The earliest printed version was a broadside printed in Baltimore within days of the battle, under the title "The Defence of Fort M'Henry." The Maryland Historical Society has an image on its web site -- see the link in my earlier post.

    3. The lyrics were printed in the Baltimore Patriot on 20 September 1814 and in the Baltimore American on 21 September 1814. I don't know if there's an online image of these versions, but they are reproduced in several books. The 21 September version is in Kerrick's "The Flag of the United States, Your Flag and Mine" p. 84. I'd be glad to scan a copy if anyone would like to see it.

    4. The first sheet music version was published in Baltimore in 1814 by Thomas Carr. There are images of this version both on the Library of Congress site (see my earlier post), and at the Smithsonian site.

    All of the above documents agree that the phrase is "when our cause it is just" not "for our cause it is just." The Maryland Historical society also has a large online collection of early versions of SSB sheet music. I have not examined every single one, but all of the ones I've looked at have the same words in that phrase. Apparently there are two possibilities. Either 1) the above documents are genuine, and the change from "when" to "for" was either a mistake or a deliberate modification by a later copiest, or 2) All of the above documents are forgeries, and there is a vast, secret, multi-generational conspiracy by historians at the Library of Congress, the National Museum of American History, the Maryland Historical Society, and countless other institutions and authors to make us think, for some devious political reason, that Key wrote "for" instead of "when." Which do you think is true?

    Hcardahs1 mentioned "political correctness" as the possible motivation for changing "for" to "when." It appears to me that the shoe is on the other foot. "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just" implies that we do not resort to force unless we are compelled to do so. "For our cause it is just" implies a triumphalist attitude that we'll do whatever we want to. Salexander said that that "when" had something to do with "weakening our resolve," but it implies nothing of the sort. It says that use of force by a free, democratic government is a moral decision, and one that is not taken lightly. I'm sure that this is what Mr. Key had in mind.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  10. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .

    Thank You, Peter ! :D


    The point of my previous entry was to show that the original words of the poem (and so the lyrics of the song) were PUBLICALLY printed and published AS WRITTEN in several prominent newspapers of the day, and that if there were surviving copies of those editions then the words would still be the same today as they were 196 years ago: AS WRITTEN & UNCHANGED. :cool:


    Have a Safe and Remembrance-filled Memorial Day weekend !!! :D


    Robin "Born Over 157 Years After The Star-Spangled Banner Was Written!" Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  11. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Thanks, Robin!

    Hcardahs1 wondered how the phrase "...for our cause..." ever came into usage. That's a good question that needs some more research. The earliest example that I've found was in an 1848 book called "Poets and Poetry of America" by Rufus Griswold. There are one or two other errors as well. For example, the line in the third stanza that goes "That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion" is rendered by Griswold as "Mid the havoc of war . . . " which actually changes the meaning a bit. Were the changes just sloppy transcriptions, or was Griswold trying to "improve" on Key's poetry?

    It may be significant that the change was in a book of poetry rather than history. Griswold was evidentally a well-known reference; Preble mentions him (and his errors) in his 1880 history of the US flag. One hypothesis is that Griswold's version was copied by writers of school textbooks and such, and got into circulation that way.

    Our distinguished collegue NAVA1974 has a superb collection of old reference books dealing with the US flag. Nick, would you have any insight on this?

    Best to all,

    Peter A.
     
  12. Hcardahs1

    Hcardahs1 New Member

    Peter Ansoff,

    Thank you for setting me straight. I very much do not like to have inaccurate information. When you can cite multiple different documents located at several different institutions, then I agree that a conspiracy seems unlikely in the extreme! I do, however wish that you had mentioned all of these sources in your first posting! I noticed that each time I disagreed with you, you came back with more and better information. I may decide to "disagree" with you in the future just to see what you are holding back! :)

    Anyway, I concede the point to you that the original wording must have been "...when our cause..."

    -Mike
     
  13. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Mike,

    Actually, I'm very glad that we had this exchange. As you know, there are quite a few myths and legends surrounding the American flag; I'm very interested in learning about them and how they have been propagated over the years. I've written a couple of papers on the subject; there's one example available online here:

    http://www.nava.org/Flag Information/articles/ansoff_pp77-100.pdf

    dealing with the so-called "Grand Union" flag.

    Anyway, I really think it would be interesting to track down the origin of the "for our cause" story and how it came to be so widespread. As I mentioned, I found an 1848 poetry collection by Rufus Griswold. I did a bit of surfing (I'd never heard of Griswold before!) and it appears that he was a well-known literary figure who encouraged schools to teach American poetry instead of just emphasizing European and classical works. It sounds like there are a couple of threads that we could pull to learn more about the story.

    Best regards,

    Peter A.
     
  14. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .

    Then there's the vintage (c. 1906) American flag post card (on eBay) with a snippet of the lyrics printed on it :


    http://cgi.ebay.com/PC-Embossed-U-S-Flag-A-S-Cora-U-B-1906-/280517142881?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item41501fe961


    Comments: "Conquer we must, when our cause is just, And this be our motto, 'In God is our trust,' and the star spangeled banner in triumph shall wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave".

    [​IMG]



    Doncha jus' LUV dis STUFF ??? :D


    Robin "Are There TOO Many Stars For 1906?" Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  15. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Thanks, Robin!

    I have another small tidbit to add to this discussion. Isaac Asimov, the famous science fiction writer, gave a talk at the Rensselaerville Institute in 1990, in which he sang all four verses of the SSB and explained their meaning. I don't have a printed copy of his talk handy, but all of the online versions that I've found say "for our cause" instead of "when our cause."

    Given Dr. Asimov's political views, I strongly suspect that his error was unintentional. However, it appears that he may have accidentally helped to spread the myth.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  16. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    Hi, Peter ! :D


    I confess..... I just couldn't resist posting the American Flag post card I saw on eBay! The timing of its appearance was almost "perfect" for this discussion. :cool:

    Yes, sometimes from small, unintentional "errors" or "omissions" do large, intentional "Conspiracy Theories" sometimes arise !!! :eek:


    Oh, Well . . . . Waddaya Gonna DO ??? :D


    Robin
     
  17. MBG-9

    MBG-9 New Member

  18. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, MBG-9 - welcome!

    You are absolutely right about the SSB lyrics on the front page. There are a number of other errors in the information there that also need to be corrected. I don't have any direct control over that material (I'm just the Forum Admin), but I'll see if I can work with the site owner to clean up the problems. Thanks for pointing this out.

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
    Forum Admin
     

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