The Battle Hymn of the Republic was penned early in the Civil War as a war song to inspire the troops. It is set to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” a popular army marching tune from the Civil War era. We have updated the lyrics to reflect current events.
THE ORIGINAL SOURCE MATERIAL
THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
The “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, also known as “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” to people who don’t live in the US, was written by American writer Julia Ward Howe using the tune of “John Brown’s Body.”
Howe’s lyrics were penned in November of 1861, and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. The song links the judgment of the wicked at the end of the age (Old Testament, Isaiah 63; New Testament, Rev. 19) with the American Civil War. Since that time, it has become an extremely popular and well-known American patriotic song.
Kimball’s battalion was dispatched to Murray, Kentucky early in the Civil War, and Julia Ward Howe heard this song during a public review of the troops outside Washington D.C. on Upton Hill, Virginia. Rufus R. Dawes, then in command of Company “K” of the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, stated in his memoirs that the man who started the singing was Sergeant John Ticknor of his company. Howe’s companion at the review, The Reverend James Freeman Clarke, suggested to Howe that she write new words for the fighting men’s song. Staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of November 18, 1861, Howe wrote the verses to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Of the writing of the lyrics, Howe remembered:
“I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, “I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.” So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.”
LYRICS to THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC – Modified for Relevance
(by Don Caron)
There’s been a lot of talk about protecting our right,
the right to keep and bear the arms that we’ll need for the fight.
And while we’ve clung to that amendment with all of our might
other rights have been withdrawn.
The right to representative democracy is done.
It is money that’s selecting all the candidates who run.
It is money buying policies that impact everyone,
and we fell for the con.
Tyranny just overthrew you.
Your gun’s no use ‘cause they outdrew you.
But you don’t realize it do you,
that the truth is now long gone.
Our leaders passing laws that only benefit the rich:
They take our last resources with a clever bait and switch.
HMOs and banks and corporate CEOs that they enrich,
and that’s what’s going on.
Most voters favor tighter regulations on the banks,
and taxes for the billionaires but they just say, “No thanks!”
‘Cause that of course is socialism, you fill in the blanks,
but it’s you they prey upon.
Don’t let the party platform fool you.
Excuse us for a moment while we school you.
You can’t let partisanship rule you,
or the madness will go on.
Our right to privacy is gone. Devices are the spies.
For government surveillance those are now the ears and eyes.
They use the corporate data — no subpoenas, no surprise,
and still we don’t catch on.
You can now be fired for expressing what you think,
whether you’re at work or doing dishes in your sink.
Your union cannot help you, they fell prey to doublethink.
They lost the marathon.
You decide who’s gonna rule you
Look beyond the red and blue to
find a way you can cut through the
corruption that lives on.
You have no right to education if among the poor.
And if you try, a life of debt is what you have in store
Education is related to the years you are good for,
and those years are soon gone.
Corporations freely do their business as monopolies.
They are poisoning the planet and they do just as they please.
Destroying the free market while they spread like a disease,
as they keep marching on.
No longer can we just stick to the
party politics due to the
fact that they are out to screw ya
and that you can count on.
Fifty companies provided all the news in ’84.
Now there’s only six – it’s 44 less than it was before.
A media consensus now exists for every war,
and the wars go on and on.
There’s a way we can recover if we wake up and get smart.
It will be a long slow process but a step is still a start.
Instead of choosing from the menu we must order a la carte
’til the party power is gone.
We’re the ones who hold the power.
This has to be our finest hour.
We’re the ones we must empower,
so the truth goes marching on.