Northern vs. Southern Ballards

Northern vs. Southern Ballards

Dixie, Where is Dixie?; Our Union, Right or Wrong; Recognition of the Southern Confederacy; Root Yank or Die!; Stand By the Union

Our Union, Right or Wrong

Many war-inspired songs were sung on both sides, often with a slight change of lyric. The shared elements of music did not lessen the hostility of the opposing forces. In his second inaugural address, President Lincoln said, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other…The prayers of both could not be answered” (Moseley, Journal of Popular Culture 48).

However, there are notable differences emphasized in the lyrics of the ballads of the opposing sides.  A noticeable theme that sets the Northern ballads apart from those of the South is a dedication to preserving the Union. “The Union Right or Wrong” shows how extreme that dedication was. The southern poetry of the war was often more disdainful than that of the North, at least in its verbal attack on “Yankees.” There was a great deal of force behind this way of speech, as in “Root Yank or Die” or “Recognition of the Southern Confederacy.”

Southern verse was often rural in nature, which can be seen in the poetic description of the land and the fruits of its soil in “Dixie. Where is Dixie?” While the North was becoming rapidly industrialized and urban population growth coincided with this trend, southern verse tended to pride the unique beauty of their sacred land.

Civil War Ballads Gallery

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