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Singing the Dream: American Sheet Music at the British Library: Part 5

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Reconstruction

'Reconstruction' is the name given to the period of U.S. history between the end of the Civil War and 1877. The major issues addressed during this time were how the southern states should be returned into the Union, the status of ex-Confederate leaders, and the social, political and economic future of the freed slaves. Perhaps not surprisingly, these issues were hotly contended, with 'Radical' Republicans wanting far harsher treatment for the South than the 'Moderates'.

Rally! Boys, Rally! Marching Song of the Grand Army of the Republic

Rally! Boys, Rally! Marching Song of the Grand Army of the Republic 5kb
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Blackmer, E.T. Rally! Boys, Rally! Marching Song of the Grand Army of the Republic. Indianapolis, 1866. H.1780.m.(37)
Copyright © The British Library

Following the end of the Civil War, many veterans' clubs soon sprang up across the North. Most of them were local and did not last very long, yet several become national organizations. The most famous of these was the Grand Army of the Republic which was founded at Decatur, Illinois in 1866. Despite its origins as a fraternal association, the Grand Army quite quickly became a potent political force. In the election of 1868 it undoubtedly helped General Ulysses S. Grant become United States President. This song vividly illustrates the Grand Army's on-going suspicion of the 'traitorous' South.

 

Rally Boys, Rally! Or, Reconstruction Song & Chorus

Rally Boys, Rally! Or, Reconstruction Song & Chorus (13b)
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Rally Boys, Rally! Or, Reconstruction Song & Chorus. Rally Boys, Rally! Or, Reconstruction Song & Chorus Leavenworth, Kansas, 1868. H.1780.m.(47)
Copyright © The British Library

This song was written for the Republican Convention in May 1868. Within the Republican Party at this time, the so-called 'Radicals' were in the ascendant. Compared with 'moderate' Republicans, the Radicals favoured harsher treatment of the South, greater protection for blacks, and more guarantees that Confederate nationalism had been eliminated. In the three years following the War, the Radicals had gained many enemies. For this reason they chose as their presidential nominee the popular war hero General Ulysses S. Grant. Although utterly lacking in political experience, Grant was elected President. His administration failed to fulfil the Radicals' grand vision, however, and became mired in corruption.

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10


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