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Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

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Battle of Bunker Hill: This Song was composed by the British after the engagement

Battle of Bunker Hill: This Song was composed by the British after the engagement Broadside

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"the poor and ignorant"
Songs play an important role in the American Revolution. Ballads such as this one published in England serve several purposes: to rouse the troops, ridicule the enemy, and play on the emotions of the listeners in a way that only music can. General Howe, who commanded the assault on Bunker Hill is depicted here as "brave", "considerate", "beloved by many"; one whose very name "the Yankees dread". What American could command that same kind of allegiance and respect from soldiers and civilians alike?

Questions to Consider

1. For what audience is the song intended and what is its purpose?

2. How are the Yankees portrayed in this song? How are the British portrayed? Show specific examples of how this is done.

3. What is the meaning of this line: "There's some in Boston pleas'd to say,/As we the fields were taking,/We went kill their countrymen,/While they their hay were making/For such stout whigs I never saw,/To hang them all I'd rather,/For making hay with musket balls/And buck-shot mix'd together." What does the songwriter mean by implying that the Yankees were "making hay with musket balls"?

4. Why is John Hancock referred to as "King Hancock"? What is that "hill call'd Bacon"? What is its actual name and where is it located?

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