The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5462 Message #2709180
Posted By: Joe Offer
26-Aug-09 - 02:53 PM
Thread Name: Origins: America, The Beautiful
Subject: RE: Origins: America, The Beautiful
Well, Uly, by the time the song was written in 1895, the Destiny had already become more-or-less Manifest, and the central part of the North American Continent was a united country from coast to coast.
Oh, I suppose you can read elements of praise for Conquering Europeans into the song, but I think it's more an expression of love for a beautiful land which had become a haven for refugees from Europe. It is shameful that the indigenous peoples of America and refugees from other lands weren't welcome, but I don't think Katharine Lee Bates had much awareness of those who were excluded from this country.
I have always loved this verse:
America! America!It's not often that one hears a national hymn that recognizes that the nation has flaws and a need for self-control. And while I'm sure the song causes problems for those who don't believe in God, I think it's remarkable that an American song written in 1895 recognizes a God that is not exclusively Christian - I can't see anything in the song that would be unacceptable to Jews or Muslims. But no, I don't think that its recognition of God makes it an acceptable national hymn for the current age.
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!