JuliaWard Howe, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic, 1862”
JuliaWard Howe, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic, 1862”
Asone listens to “The Battle of the Republic,” it can be confusingon what it is referring. Though written during the United StatesCivil War, most of the words are illustrative of more than just thebattle. The song seems to be purely channeled towards religion. Fromthe first verse, it is evident that it is not a secular hymn. “Thecoming of the Lord” evidently suggest the coming of Jesus Christ.From a Christian perspective, the song was composed to demonstratethe second coming of Jesus Christ as entailed in the Bible. The laststanza also typifies messages entailed in the Bible. In other words,Jesus died for the humankind to be saved, and God continues to marchon. Though the song elucidates on Christ’s messages, versions ofthe same have erupted to represent various themes. As such, thispaper will look to analyze the song in terms of the composer, theperiod, and insights among other facets of the song.
“TheBattle of Hymn of the Republic” is also regarded as “Mine EyesHave Seen the Glory,” in some countries. It is a song written byJulia Ward Howe adapting “John Brown’s Body” music. Glory,glory, Hallelujah it is one of the most famous and perhaps catchyAmerican folk songs. One may wonder whether the song is religiousworship, social activist chant, or a battle march. Nonetheless, itcan serve all these aspects, especially because it was composedduring the American Civil War. Ever since it emerged, it has beenchanged numerous times gaining more words. But the three most vitalelements are glory, glory, hallelujah [ CITATION Chr17 l 1033 ].
Thispopular song emanated from a camp meeting in the early 19th century.The camp meetings were huge, outside, Protestant Christian-worshipservices that normally lasted for several days. Emotional prayers andsongs embodied the meetings. The original version of the songconcentrates on attaining peace in the everlasting afterlife. Themoral message behind the song was living a righteous life as a key toinheriting the kingdom of God. Therefore, the song was composed toimplore the populace to be good and adopt morally stable virtues. Theattractive tune became prevalent in the American society. Within notime, it represented changes in other social aspects since manypeople attended the camp meetings and adopted the concept. Thiscommon ideology instigated changes in various institutions in a meansto curb societal evils like slavery [ CITATION Chr17 l 1033 ].
Afterthe separation of the Southern states in 1861, the nation was brokeninto Civil War. “John Brown’s Body,” became popular as theUnion soldiers utilized it as a marching song. Different Uniondivisions varied in lyrics, including hanging Jefferson Davis, whowas a Confederate president. It was in 1861 that abolitionist JuliaWard Howe heard Union groups humming John Brown`s Body, and wasmotivated to compose sets of lyrics that interconnected the moralityof the Northern, and particularly the abolitionist. She printed thesong as The Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1862. It is crucial tocomprehend the fact that not all Northerners were abolitionists atthis time. Most of them wanted the nation to unite irrespective ofwhether slavery was still present. Howe’s hymn was instrumental inchanging this notion. It popularizes the sentiments entailed in thesong among prisoners of war, Union soldiers as well as averagenortherners [ CITATION Chr17 l 1033 ].
Mostof the American people knew the antiquity of “The Battle Hymn ofthe Republic” as well as the original message. The meaning of thehymn was still evident in most people. As such, the 19th-centurypeople connected this song perfectly to abolition and the thingsmaking the Union fight to the final judgment. The Civil War withinthis song epitomized God’s judgment. These were the final trialswhere worldly sins would be weighed. Slavery signified death and sinthe Union and abolition representing salvation. As typified by theline, “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.”The fight against slavery took Christ-like quality. Just like Jesusdied to make humans free, the fighting during Civil War was meant tofree people from slavery [ CITATION Chr17 l 1033 ].
Inthe contemporary world, the sentiments entailed in the song can beutilized in different places. However, the most viable connotationrevolves around Christianity. As entailed in the song, moral virtuesare vital in maintaining a fair society. The hymn was directly meantto champion good over evil. Nevertheless, it has not stopped otherinstitutions from deriving different connotations. For instance, somefootball clubs have made a version of the same as a theme song. Themodern world should relate the wordings in the song to religiousaspects. People should understand that the song championed goodconduct. All the inhumane behaviors like slavery, among other formsof sin should not be entertained [ CITATION Chr17 l 1033 ].
Inconclusion, from this hymn, I have gained considerable knowledge onthe origin of various themes and anthems. It has not altered myperception of the work. Instead, it has enhanced my understanding ofthe same. In addition to that, versions of the song should not swayfrom the original meaning. In other words, since the song was meantto propel good behavior or rather Christian conduct, adaptations ofthe same should revolve within this message.
Muscato, C. (2017). The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/battle-hymn-of-the-republic-summary-analysis.html