What So Proudly We Hailed is the first full-length biography of Francis Scott Key in more than 75 years. In this fascinating look at early America, historian Marc Leepson explores the life and legacy of Francis Scott Key. Standing alongside Betsy Ross, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, and John Hancock in history, Key made his mark as an American icon by one single and unforgettable act, writing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Among other things, Leepson reveals:• How the young Washington lawyer found himself in Baltimore Harbor on the night of September 13-14, 2014• The mysterious circumstances surrounding how the poem he wrote, first titled "The Defense of Ft. M'Henry," morphed into the National Anthem• Key's role in forming the American Colonization Society, and his decades-long fervent support for that controversial endeavor that sent free blacks to Africa• His adamant opposition to slave trafficking and his willingness to represent slaves and freed men and women for free in Washington's courts• Key's role as a confidant of President Andrew Jackson and his work in Jackson's "kitchen cabinet"• Key's controversial actions as U.S. Attorney during the first race riot in Washington, D.C., in 1835. Publishing to coincide with the 200th anniversary of "The Star Spangled Banner" in 2014, What So Proudly We Hailed reveals unexplored details of the life of an American patriot whose legacy has been largely unknown until now.
Francis Scott Key was a very busy man. He and his wife had 11 children. He was a lawyer and many people came to him for advice. But whenever he had a moment, he would jot down a line of poetry. He loved writing poems. When the War of 1812 broke out, Francis became even busier. He was well-respected and often called upon to help keep the peace as the war between the United States and England raged on. One fateful night Francis and his friend helped talk the British Navy into releasing a prisoner of war. But they couldn't return home just yet because the Battle of Fort McHenry was starting! If the British captured the fort, America might very well lose its independence. Francis and his friends could only sit on a boat and observe the battle. For 25 hours they watched in awe. What Francis saw inspired him to write a poem that would become America's national anthem! This Step 3 reader is perfect for children who are ready to read independently.
Francis Scott Key: The Life and Legacy of the Man Who Wrote America’s National Anthem
*Includes pictures *Includes Key's quotes and contemporary accounts about the Star Spangled Banner *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading “Then, in that hour of deliverance, my heart spoke. Does not such a country, and such defenders of their country, deserve a song?” – Francis Scott Key “O say can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bomb bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” These words elicit strong emotions in the hearts of Americans more than 200 years after they were written. The Star Spangled Banner is still sung at sporting events, political rallies, and even church services around the nation on a daily basis, and for decades, they were considered mandatory memory work for every kid in grade school. Today, some find the song disturbing for various reasons, ranging from its martial words to its high notes, and others believe that the national anthem should not be sung because of the character of the man who wrote them: Francis Scott Key. And what of this man, this brilliant lawyer who was born into slave-holding Maryland and himself held slaves even as he wrote of “the land of the free”? He was, to say the least, complex, as he at times fought in court both for and against slaves seeking their freedom. He was a founding member of an organization seeking to return captured slaves to their homelands, yet he also fought abolition tooth and claw. He seems to have been, like many men of his age, torn nearly to pieces by the these contradictions, even as he wrote in one of the song’s later verses: “A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” On the one hand he considered the law of the land the highest authority on earth, but he saw little difference between faith in God and faith in America, as he wrote in the song’s rarely sung final verse: “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto – ‘In God is our trust.’” He was a well-known and well-connected Washington, D.C. attorney who was always in debt, even as he lived and worked among the most powerful people in the nation. In fact, he died a poor man even though he owned the rights to one of the most popular songs in American history. Francis Scott Key’s personal life was somewhat less confusing, if more tragic. He came from a closely knit family and was especially influenced by his mother and grandmother. He was happily married for more than 40 years to a woman who never quite lived up to his standards of piety. He was a devoted and devout father of 11 children who suffered the pangs of burying several before their time. As a result, there was always a conflict between his desire to rejoice in all he had and his often melancholic state of mind. Francis Scott Key: The Life and Legacy of the Man Who Wrote America’s National Anthem examines one of 19th century America’s most influential figures. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about Francis Scott Key like never before.
This book contains the most definitive biography of Francis Scott Key ever written; a portrait of “an unusual character—a lawyer, orator, churchman, statesman, and poet, who was deeply patriotic and deeply religious.” “Certain it is that the fame of Francis Scott Key flowed almost entirely from the fact that he wrote The Star Spangled Banner. Yet his life is significant for many other reasons. For many years, from the time when he first appeared before Chief Justice Marshall to plead for the release of Aaron Burr’s messengers, Key was one of the leaders of the American Bar. He defended Sam Houston in his dramatic trial in the House of Representatives; he figured in Peggy Eaton’s quarrel; he opposed Nullification and the United States Bank; and he was Andrew Jackson’s conciliator in Alabama in one of the most stirring episodes in the history of the State.” Illustrations, poems, “all the important utterances of his known public speeches,” a bibliography, and an index to full names, places and subjects enhance this exceptional work.
Through the Perilous Fight: From the Burning of Washington to the Star-Spangled Banner: The Six Weeks That Saved the Nation
In a rousing account of one of the critical turning points in American history, Through the Perilous Fight tells the gripping story of the burning of Washington and the improbable last stand at Baltimore that helped save the nation and inspired its National Anthem. In the summer of 1814, the United States of America teetered on the brink of disaster. The war it had declared against Great Britain two years earlier appeared headed toward inglorious American defeat. The young nation’s most implacable nemesis, the ruthless British Admiral George Cockburn, launched an invasion of Washington in a daring attempt to decapitate the government and crush the American spirit. The British succeeded spectacularly, burning down most of the city’s landmarks—including the White House and the Capitol—and driving President James Madison from the area. As looters ransacked federal buildings and panic gripped the citizens of Washington, beleaguered American forces were forced to regroup for a last-ditch defense of Baltimore. The outcome of that “perilous fight” would help change the outcome of the war—and with it, the fate of the fledgling American republic. In a fast-paced, character-driven narrative, Steve Vogel tells the story of this titanic struggle from the perspective of both sides. Like an epic novel, Through the Perilous Fight abounds with heroes, villains, and astounding feats of derring-do. The vindictive Cockburn emerges from these pages as a pioneer in the art of total warfare, ordering his men to “knock down, burn, and destroy” everything in their path. While President Madison dithers on how to protect the capital, Secretary of State James Monroe personally organizes the American defenses, with disastrous results. Meanwhile, a prominent Washington lawyer named Francis Scott Key embarks on a mission of mercy to negotiate the release of an American prisoner. His journey will place him with the British fleet during the climactic Battle for Baltimore, and culminate in the creation of one of the most enduring compositions in the annals of patriotic song: “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, the burning of Washington was a devastating national tragedy that ultimately united America and renewed its sense of purpose. Through the Perilous Fight combines bravura storytelling with brilliantly rendered character sketches to recreate the thrilling six-week period when Americans rallied from the ashes to overcome their oldest adversary—and win themselves a new birth of freedom.Praise for Through the Perilous Fight“Very fine storytelling, impeccably researched . . . brings to life the fraught events of 1814 with compelling and convincing vigor.”—Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of An Army at Dawn “Probably the best piece of military history that I have read or reviewed in the past five years. . . . This well-researched and superbly written history has all the trappings of a good novel. . . . No one who hears the national anthem at a ballgame will ever think of it the same way after reading this book.”—Gary Anderson, The Washington Times “[Steve] Vogel does a superb job. . . . [A] fast-paced narrative with lively vignettes.”—Joyce Appleby, The Washington Post “Before 9/11 was 1814, the year the enemy burned the nation’s capital. . . . A splendid account of the uncertainty, the peril, and the valor of those days.”—Richard Brookhiser, author of James Madison “A swift, vibrant account of the accidents, intricacies and insanities of war.”—Kirkus ReviewsFrom the Hardcover edition.
Francis Scott Key: Poet and Patriot (A Discovery book)
On a September morning in 1812, an eyewitness to the British bombing of Ft. McHenry scribbled a poem about the American flag on the back of an envelop. The eyewitness was Francis Scott Key, a well-known Washington D.C. poet and lawyer. The sight of the American Flag waving through the battle told Key that the Americans were holding strong, and stirred Key to put the pride he felt into the words of a poem. These words became “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem. Today every American knows Key’s words and sings them proudly at official proceedings and before sports events. Key went on to create an African republic where former slaves could live in freedom. He helped President Andrew Jackson settle differences between Native Americans and settlers in Alabama, and he was made District Attorney for Washington D.C. But it is for “The Star-Spangled Banner” that he is most remembered. Here is the story of the man who was the first to call the fledging United ! States of America the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
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