Title

Songs of Manifest Destiiny: A cultural reflection

Presenter Information

Brock Wolitarsky

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 271

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

The American Westward movement in the mid 1800s is one of the most studied periods in history. However, behind this great movement were thousands of common people simply traveling to make a better life for themselves. These people had dreams, views, and opinions that are often ignored or assumed. This era also gave birth to many songs that we still love today. These songs are a perfect look at the views of the pioneers. By looking at these songs and using what we know of the events of the Overland Trail, we see the daily routine, dreams, and opinions of an ordinary pioneer. To show that these songs are a reflection of culture, I have looked at the songs in their earliest known forms and then compared them with pioneer journals and the research of master historians. Seeing the songs in their historical context is an eye-opener to the message that music provides. There is a powerful correlation between what the opinions and views of the day were and what the songs are saying. My presentation will use the song “Sweet Betsy of Pike” as an example how songs reflect pioneer views. These views were harsh and degrading toward racial and religious minorities, while praising their own virtuous character. These songs provide an enlightening window into the culture and views of the pioneers, views which otherwise would have gone unexplored.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Daniel Herman

Additional Mentoring Department

History

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 16th, 9:30 AM May 16th, 9:50 AM

Songs of Manifest Destiiny: A cultural reflection

SURC 271

The American Westward movement in the mid 1800s is one of the most studied periods in history. However, behind this great movement were thousands of common people simply traveling to make a better life for themselves. These people had dreams, views, and opinions that are often ignored or assumed. This era also gave birth to many songs that we still love today. These songs are a perfect look at the views of the pioneers. By looking at these songs and using what we know of the events of the Overland Trail, we see the daily routine, dreams, and opinions of an ordinary pioneer. To show that these songs are a reflection of culture, I have looked at the songs in their earliest known forms and then compared them with pioneer journals and the research of master historians. Seeing the songs in their historical context is an eye-opener to the message that music provides. There is a powerful correlation between what the opinions and views of the day were and what the songs are saying. My presentation will use the song “Sweet Betsy of Pike” as an example how songs reflect pioneer views. These views were harsh and degrading toward racial and religious minorities, while praising their own virtuous character. These songs provide an enlightening window into the culture and views of the pioneers, views which otherwise would have gone unexplored.