Patriotism in Music

Tessa Ambriz
Economic suffering that occurred worldwide during the Great Depression was enough to make the entire population lose hope in a better tomorrow. The continual loss of faith in what was once a united, strong nation left many Americans wondering if the land they once called their home and refuge would ever be the same. There were some great and talented citizens, however, that decided to be the backbone for the rest of the nation, and portray the real meaning of patriotism through the art of music.

Irving Berlin, a talented musician during the 1930’s, had the idea to make a few changes to one of his old, unfinished pieces to create a song about patriotism. Although there were many of these patriotic songs already recorded at the time, he was sure this would be a hit. The result of this was a famous ballad known as “God Bless America”. He knew that millions would love the song, and he had the perfect person in mind to debut the song in 1938. Who better to do the job than Kate Smith, the number one popular songstress at the time! Together, the duo become very famous and gave the nation a sign of hope and happiness in their time of depression.

In 1945, in response to Irving’s work, a man named Woody Guthrie created another song that would be well known for many years to come title “This Land is Your Land”. Guthrie experienced living among the vast armies of the poor and dispossessed created by the Great Depression. The people who were suffering around him became his motivation for writing songs; he was considered a spokesperson for the populist sentiments. This was another sign of hope as the Great Depression came to an end; it reflected Guthrie’s deep love for his country and celebrated the beauty and grandeur of America and served as a reminder that the nation belonged to all the people.

As you can see, although the entire nation seemed to be in despair, not all hope was lost. There were a select few who still had hearts full of patriotism and could convey it to the rest of the world, so that hope may rise again in the hearts of others.
Works Cited
"Guthrie Writes "This Land Is Your Land"" A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <>.
"The Story behind Irving Berlin's "God Bless America"" The Story behind Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <


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