Poetic Myths: American Nationalism and the War of 1812

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2016

Faculty Sponsor

David Walker, Raymond Krohn


The Star Spangled Banner is one of the best known patriotic songs in the United States, however, most people do not know it originated as a poem during a much understudied, but highly influential time. The Star Spangled Banner is one of several poems that helped build unity in America during and after the War of 1812. This project analyzes early 19th century American poetry and the influence it had on building foundational ideologies of American nationalism. It focuses on the role poetry played in creating nationalistic myths by using primary texts, to explore and analyze the different themes, words, and styles used to convey poetry to the populace between 1812 and 1829. It also shows ideas, beliefs, and social and political ideologies prevalent among those with the influence to get their voices heard. The ideas that are most prevalent in the American nationalistic myth are those of valor, gallantry, pride, perseverance, godly endeavor, liberty, duty, roughness, and steadfastness. This study helps provide a general understanding of how national unity is built in fledgling countries.

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