Antebellum Period: Music Playlist

Philip Killgo

Rise of the Common Man

Fanfare for the Common Man, New York Philharmonic, James Levine

Song: Fanfare for the Common Man (Aaron Copland)

This fanfare, written by Aaron Copland, was inspired by a speech made by Henry A. Wallace, who heralded the century as, “The Century of the Common Man.” It also was written to honor everyone who was a part of the 2nd World War. This is very similar to the Rise of the Common Man, when Andrew Jackson ushered in a new age for the normal people, so to say. The piece is also very strong, like Jackson was considered by many Americans.


Trail of Tears

Edge of Night (Pippin's Song)

Song: Edge of Night (Pippin's Song, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

In “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” this song is played as some of Gondor’s soldiers ride to their deaths. Performed by Billy Boyd, it’s lyrics perfectly portray the hard journey the Cherokee Indians had in front of them, with lines like, “Home is behind the world ahead,” and, “All shall fade...” This compares strongly with the hard journey that the Indians (Specifically the Cherokee) had in store for them, as many died along the journey.
Best time: All of song (Minus instrumental part at the end)


Gone to Texas

1955 HITS ARCHIVE: The Yellow Rose Of Texas - Mitch Miller

*Song: The Yellow Rose of Texas (Recorded by Mitch Miller)*

In this classic Texas song, it describes wanting to see the "Yellow Rose of Texas" again, and even going to Texas to see her. Similarly, many settlers during the Antebellum period dreamed of going to Texas to escape troubles and start over in a new place. This is also similar to how much people would miss Texas if they ever had to leave, with some lyrics saying, "Nobody else could miss her, not half as much as me."
Best time: 0:20-0:40



Brad Paisley - American Saturday Night

Song: American Saturday Night (Brad Paisley)

In this song by Brad Paisley, it describes how many aspects of American life come from other places with the lyrics saying, "A french kiss, Italian ice, Spanish moss in the moonlight, just another American Saturday night." or "You know everywhere has something they're known for, Although usually it washes up on our shores."
Also, the song makes a direct reference to the immigrants that came to the US during this time period. "My great great great granddaddy stepped off of that ship, I bet he never ever dreamed we'd have all this"
Best times: 1:55-2:20 and 0:38-1:14


Industrial Revolution

Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett - It's Five O' Clock Somewhere

It's 5 O'clock Somewhere (Alan Jackson, ft. Jimmy Buffet)

This iconic song, by Alan Jackson (ft. Jimmy Buffet) describes a worker quitting after noon, although he should work to 5, "It's only half-past 12, but I don't care... It's 5 o'clock somewhere.This is reflected, and actually a remnant of the hours of the Industrial Revolution, where workers would spend long hours working in mills, mines, etc.
The song also describes un-ideal conditions, "The sun is hot and that old clock is movin' slow, An' so am I. Work day passes like molasses in wintertime, But it's July. I'm gettin' paid by the hour, an' older by the minute.My boss just pushed me over the limit." This is a parallel the bad conditions many factory workers had to endure to earn their wages.Although, it is not as severe


2nd Great Awakening

My Faith Looks Up To Thee

*My Faith Looks Up to Thee (Ray Palmer)*

This song, written in 1830 by Ray Palmer (An influential sacred music composer) has remained a common church hymn to this day. The song describes someone asking God to forgive their sins, which is something many, if not all, new converts to newly formed Christan denominations did during the 2nd Great Awakening. This makes sense, as the song was written in the wake of the event.
Best time: 0:10-0:48


Advancements in Art, Literature, and Science

"Beautiful Dreamer" by Stephen Foster

*Beautiful Dreamer (Stephen Foster)*

This song, by the extremely famous songwriter Stephen Foster, talks about a “beautiful dreamer” and calling them to wake up. This can be related to how the innovators of the time, in science, art, etc, could be seen as dreamers, whose beautiful ideas would change the world (Such as the telegraph, the Origin of the Species, etc). It also can reference how their ideas would eventually be accepted, with these lyrics, "Sounds of the rude world heard in the day, Led by the moonlight have all passed away."
Best time: 0:16-0:47


Reform Movements: Women/Abolition

Songs - Traditional - Swing Low Sweet Chariot

*Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Traditional song)*

This song, although first recorded in 1909, has it’s roots back in the Antebellum Period. It refers directly to the Underground Railroad in it, due to it being considered a coded song that slaves could share with one another to talk about freedom. Here is a breakdown of the first verse (below).
Best time: 0:08-0:41
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*(Song) *: Period Music