Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Battle Hymn Of The Republic. What Does It Really Mean?


One of the most enduring traditional American hymns and patriotic songs is Julia Ward Howe’s "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." It is a staple with many Christian church choirs and hardly a patriotic holiday passes without this song being sung and played at ceremonies nationwide. But is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" truly appropriate for religious hymnals and patriotic ceremonies? Who was the author? What motivated and inspired her? What message was she trying to convey? What do the words mean? What meaning do they have for us today?

The author, Julia Ward Howe, was born in 1819 in New York City. She married a prominent physician, Dr. Samuel Howe Gridley (1801-1876) in 1843 and they lived in Boston, Mass. Where they raised five children. She was a much celebrated author, a tireless supporter of the anti-slavery movement, preached in Unitarian churches, and was a zealous worker for the advancement of women, prison reform, world peace and other humanitarian movements. She died 17 October 1910, at her summer home in Oak Glen, Rhode Island.

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