Skip to main content

Star-Spangled Banner

"STAR-SPANGLED BANNER"

"STAR-SPANGLED BANNER." In 1931 Congress passed legislation making "The Star-Spangled Banner" the national anthem of the United States. The song began as a poem written by the amateur poet Francis Scott Key on 14 September 1814. On that morning Key was looking at the smoke rising from Fort McKinley in Baltimore, which had just endured twenty-five hours of British attack. Through the smoke Key caught sight of the large garrison flag still flying, and this image inspired him to jot a few lines down on the back of a letter.

Key lengthened and revised the poem, and the next day it was published as a broadside with Key's recommendation that the words be sung to a tune he liked, the popular British song "To Anacreon in Heaven." Soon the poem appeared in several newspapers along the East Coast. Shortly thereafter Thomas Carr's music store in Baltimore published the words and music together under the present title. The song had become popular by the start of the Civil War and was frequently played on patriotic occasions. Members of the Maryland State Society, members of the U.S. Daughters of 1812, and Congressman J. Charles Linthicum of Baltimore are credited with bringing about the legislation that made the song the national anthem. The original flag that inspired Key is preserved at the Smithsonian Institution.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Meyer, Sam. Paradoxes of Fame: The Francis Scott Key Story. Annapolis, Md.: Eastwind Publications, 1995.

Connie AnnKirk

See alsoWar of 1812 .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Star-Spangled Banner." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Star-Spangled Banner." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/star-spangled-banner

"Star-Spangled Banner." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/star-spangled-banner

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.