Rhetorical legacy of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" : patriotic hymns as agents of change for religion, war and race in the United States.


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The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is a unique American musical artifact that has evolved with American history to both reflect social change as it happens in society and serve as a vehicle for making that change happen. As a patriotic hymn, the “Battle Hymn” intersects with religion, war, and race throughout American history. As a religious song, variations of the “Battle Hymn” link duty to country with divine providence. As war tune, songs based on the “Battle Hymn” or “John Brown’s Body” give voice to support and protest both within the troops and those affected by the war. As an African American song, variations of “John Brown’s Body” disputes unfair treatment while resituating African Americans as central to American culture.



Rhetoric. Battle Hymn of the Republic. Music.