Unit 3: Expansion and Reform, 1800-1860

United/Divided | War & Peace | Work | Home | Moving Along | Faith & Ideals




“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”

early 1800s
African American song lamenting loss of home and alienation

Lyrics| Recording

“Get off the Track”

The Hutchinson Family Singers, 1840
A popular Abolitionist song


“Darling Nellie Grey”

Benjamin R. Hanby, 1856
A minstrel song that was sensitive to the plight of slaves, helped the Abolition cause



War and Peace


“The Star-Spangled Banner”

Francis Scott Key, 1814
The national anthem of the United States, originating as a poem in the War of 1812

Lyrics | Recording | View an activity using this song

“Hunters of Kentucky”

lyrics by Samuel Woodworth, music by George Colman, 1822
A Jackson campaign song extolling his leadership at the Battle of New Orleans

Lyrics | Lesson ideas




“I’m Afloat on the Erie Canal”

Anonymous, c. 1825
A song about working on the Erie Canal

“Greenland Whale Fishery”

Anonymous, 18th-century
A traditional whaling song likely sung on both sides of the Atlantic

Lyrics | Recording

“Song of the Shirt”

Thomas Hood, 1843
A British song about sweatshop labor made popular in the U.S. by the Hutchinson Family





“Hard Times Come Again No More”

Stephen Foster, 1855
A song empathizing with the poor and grieving



Moving Along



Traditional, c. 1800s
A sea chanty moved inland during the keelboat age on western rivers

Lyrics | Recording

“Trail of Tears”

Cherokee, 1840s
A song about the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from the American South


“Sweet Betsy from Pike”

John A. Stone, 1858
A ‘49er song about crossing the prairies


“The Glendy Burk”

Stephen Foster, 1860
Stephen Foster pays tribute to the steamboat at the peak of its influence



Faith and Ideals


“Go Down Moses”

Traditional, first published 1861
An Old Testament-inspired spiritual expressing the hope of liberation.



“Simple Gifts”

Traditional, c. 1840
A hymn of the utopian Shaker community, expressing their ideal of simplicity

Lyrics | Recording

“Amazing Grace”

John Newton, 1779, tune “New Britain”
A timeless hymn, made more meaningful by the author’s giving up a slave-trading career


“America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)”

Samuel Smith, 1832, Tune “God Save the King”
America’s version of “God Save the King,” an enduring patriotic hymn

Lyrics | Recording



More Units:

1. Worlds Meeting

2. New Nation

3. Expansion & Reform

4. Civil War & Reconstruction

5. Development of Industrial


6. Emergence of Modern U.S.

7. Great Depression & WW II

8. Post-War U.S.

9. Contemporary U.S.









Copyright 2007-2008 Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh Library System