An American Song

An American Song

Early in the Revolutionary War, the British attacked the Americans held up in a fort along the Hudson River. The Americans fought bravely but were so outnumbered that they were forced to surrender.

The British General demanded that the Americans lay down their arms and walk down a road lined on both sides by British soldiers. The British taunted and hurled insults at the dejected American volunteers as they passed through this barrier of their enemies.

Suddenly, the British general called out to his band to play “Yankee Doodle Dandy” for the American boys. (“Yankee Doodle Dandy” was an old British drinking song designed to humiliate the American Colonist.) Note the words: They were not gentlemen; they were pretenders to the gentile ranks…”Dandies”. They didn’t ride horses, they rode “ponies”. They didn’t wear the great curled, plumes, shaped like macaroni in their hats that the English nobility wore; they wore feathers and called them macaroni. This was purely a song meant to demean the Americans.)

The American general was forced to surrender his sword to the English General. During this time, there was no greater insult then to surrender ones sword.

This was indeed a very low point for the Americans in the war.

Several years later when Washington captured the British forces under Cornwallis at Yorktown in Virginia and compelled him to surrender, thus ending the revolution, Washington demanded the same of the British General that they lay down their weapons and pass through the ranks of Americans that lined the road.

Cornwallis was so embarrassed by his defeat that he refused to meet Washington and surrender his sword. Therefore, he sent his second in command, the very same General who had accepted the American surrender years before and who had imposed such humiliation upon the American forces. This general refused to surrender his sword to Washington and instead presented it to the French commander that was present at the surrender. The Frenchman refused to accept it and pointed to Washington indicating that it was he who should receive the sword for it was he, Washington, who had defeated the English. The Englishman with great scorn approached Washington who immediately turned his head away and pointed to the American General who was forced to surrender at the fort years before. (The American who surrendered his sword was now about to receive the sword from the general he was forced to surrender to. What irony!)

Just as the British Officer was about to hand the sword to the American, Washington suddenly stopped him. “Wait”, he called out. Then turned to the American Band and said “play Yankee Doodle for this gentlemen. He seems to like it so.”

As the British soldiers passed through the ranks of the victorious American Army, the band played Yankee Doodle over and over and every American soldier in line laughed and sang along with the tune.

One British officer asked his companion “who do they think they are?” “A new breed of men” was his fellow’s answer. “A breed that bows to no king.”

This is the origin of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and how it became important to America.

You Might Also Like:

World History related image
Read More

World History

Welcome to our World History section, a vast treasure trove of historical knowledge that takes you on a captivating journey through the annals of human civilization. Our collection spans a wide spectrum of topics, providing an exhaustive resource for history enthusiasts, students, and curious minds ...
Read More

A Complete History Of The European Middle Ages

The Middle Ages Date: 1992 During the decline of the Roman Empire, the migrations of a strong, rude people began to change the life of Europe. They were the German barbarians, or Teutonic tribes, who swept across the Rhine and the Danube into the empire. There they accepted Christianity. The union o...
Read More

A Day In The Life Of A Battle Of Britain Pilot

The following would have been a typical day in the life of a Battle of Britain pilot The sequences are based on the works of different authors with the exception that the names have been changed. This is just to give you an idea as to how a pilot may have spent his day at the height of the battle. ...
Read More

A General Survey Of The Slave Plantation

The American Civil War, Frederick Douglass Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 A General Survey of the Slave Plantation by Frederick Douglass It was generally supposed that slavery in the State of Maryland existed in its mildest form, and that it was totally divested of those harsh and terrible peculiari...
Read More

A. P. Hill

The American Civil War, A. P. Hill Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 b. Nov. 9, 1825, Culpeper, Va., U.S.d. April 2, 1865, Petersburg, Va. Confederate general during the U.S. Civil War who was particularly active in the fighting around Washington, D.C. His force, called the "Light Division," was cons...
Read More


The American Civil War, Abolition, The Movement Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 There can be no doubt that antislavery, or "abolition" as it came to be called, was the nonpareil reform. Abolition was a diverse phenomenon. At one end of its spectrum was William Lloyd Garrison, an "immediatist," who de...
Read More

Abraham Lincoln

The American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln American Civil War history with slideshows, photos, music, major battles like Gettysburg as well as personalities like Lincoln, Grant, Lee and the Black Regiments Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 He was an unusual man in many ways. One minute he would wrestle wi...
Read More


European Absolutism And Power Politics Introduction Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France is remembered best as a strong-willed monarch who reportedly once exclaimed to his fawning courtiers, "L'etat, c'est moi" (I am the state). Whether or not he really said these words, Louis has been regarded by histor...
Read More

Absolutism As A System

Absolutism As A System L'Etat, C'Est Moi Date: 1998 Absolutism As A System Unlimited royal authority, as advocated by Bossuet and Hobbes, was the main characteristic of absolutism. It was demonstrated most obviously in political organization but also served to integrate into government most econom...
Read More

Absolutism, Case Against

The Case Against AbsolutismAuthor: Wallbank;Taylor;Bailkey;Jewsbury;Lewis;HackettDate: 1992The Case Against AbsolutismThe Enlightenment's highest achievement was the development of a tightlyorganized philosophy, purportedly based on scientific principles andcontradicting every argument for absolute ...
Read More

Accession Of Solomon

Accession Of Solomon Author: Milman, Henry Hart Accession Of Solomon B.C. 1017 Introduction After many weary years of travail and fighting in the wilderness and the land of Canaan, the Jews had at last founded their kingdom, with Jerusalem as the capital. Saul was proclaimed the first king; afterwa ...
Read More


A History of Ancient Greece The Glory That Was Greece Author: Jewsbury, Lewis Date: 1992 The Acropolis Acropolis (Greek akros,"highest"; polis,"city"), term originally applied to any fortified natural stronghold or citadel in ancient Greece. Primarily a place of refuge, the typical acropolis was con...
Read More

Aegean Civilization

A History of Ancient Greece Author: Robert Guisepi Date: 1998 AEGEAN CIVILIZATION The earliest civilization in Europe appeared on the coasts and islands of the Aegean Sea. This body of water is a branch of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bounded by the Greek mainland on the west, Asia Minor (now Turkey...
Read More

Aemilius Paulus

AEMILIUS PAULUS by Plutarch Almost all historians agree that the Aemilii were one of the ancient and patrician houses in Rome; and those authors who affirm that king Numa was pupil to Pythagoras, tell us that the first who gave the name to his posterity was Mamercus, the son of Pythagoras, who, for ...
Read More

Africa In The Age Of The Slave Trade

Africa And The Africans In The Age Of The Atlantic Slave Trade Various Authors Edited By: R. A. GuisepiAfrican Societies, Slavery, And The Slave TradeEuropeans in the age of the slave trade sometimes justified enslavementof Africans by pointing out that slavery already existed on that continent.Howe...
Read More