America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates

Link to "America the Beautiful" Video (You'll need to turn the volume up high in order to hear the singers sing.)

"America The Beautiful" Lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates:

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America! God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,

Whose stern impassion'd stress

A thoroughfare for freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,

Confirm thy soul in self-control,

Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life!

America! America! May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness,

And ev'ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam,

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America! God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

1. 3 Key Terms In The Lyrics And Their Definitions:

2. Person/Event In The Lyrics And Identifying Them By Relating Them To The Protest Movement: I think that the lyrics relate to the American Revolutionary War because, the song is about freedom and it is a protest/patriotic ballad. Also, the Patriots were protesting against the British government in order to get freedom.


On August 12, 1859, Katharine Lee Bates was born in a Falmouth, Massachusetts. In 1880, Katharine Lee Bates graduated from Wellesley College. After graduating from Wellesley College, Katharine Lee Bates became a teacher, and she returned to Wellesley College to become a English professor after several years of previous teaching experience. In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates published her well known poem, "America the Beautiful". Then, "America the Beautiful" became the lyrics for a patriotic ballad. Later on, Katharine Lee Bates became an accomplished teacher during her time teaching at Wellesley College, and she also became the head of the English department at Wellesley College, in which she served for many years. Many years later, Katharine Lee Bates retired in the year of 1925, and died on March 28, 1929. As stated on, "she (Katharine Lee Bates) was inspired by “the sea-like expanse of fertile country . . . under those ample skies,” and “the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.” Those opening lines—“O beautiful for spacious skies, / For amber waves of grain, / For purple mountain majesties / Above the fruited plain!”—would eventually become the lyrics of one of the best-known songs in American history. Bates finished writing “America the Beautiful” before leaving Colorado Springs but didn’t think of publishing it until two years later. The poem was first printed in a weekly newspaper, The Congregationalist, on July 4, 1895. Bates’s patriotic words were soon set to music, most popularly to composer S. A. Ward’s “Materna,” the tune to which we sing it today. Celebrating “country loved” and the “patriot dream,” the song resonated with Americans from all walks of life and became enormously popular. Within twenty years, Bates (after revising some of the lyrics in 1904) had “given hundreds, perhaps thousands, of free permissions” for “America the Beautiful” to appear “in church hymnals and Sunday School song books of nearly all the denominations; . . . in a large number of regularly published song books, poetry readers, civic readers, patriotic readers . . . in manuals of hymns and prayers, and anthologies of patriotic prose and poetry . . . and in countless periodicals" (


1. "America the Beautiful" was originated as a poem in 1893. Then, revisions were made to the poem, and the second version was made in 1904. The third version was made into a patriotic ballad in 1913. The theme presented in Katharine Lee Bates's "America the Beautiful" is the freedom of our country and the progress we made since we declared independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Speaking of progress, Katharine Lee Bates wrote about our country's beauty. Another theme presented is patriotism. The issue is that many people in the world live without any rights/freedom and freedom is important. Some people might say that freedom is "A right that everyone should be born with" while some people might say that "Freedom is a right that allows people to do certain things like doing whatever they want, living where they want to live, and learn what they want to learn. As stated in a chart on, "a number of 54 countries are not free" ( I agree with the message Katharine Lee Bates is sending because, many countries are not treating their people right, and that is a human rights issue. I feel that Katharine Lee Bate's "America the Beautiful" made significant impact on the issue/era because, even though many countries are not giving their citizens freedom, the song shows how patriotic we are.