Understanding the Battle Hymn of the Republic

The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" was written by Julia Ward Howe and was published in February of 1862. To understand the hymn we must look into the context in which the hymn was written. It was a time of struggle and a time of strife when feelings were running high in the United States, especially over the issue of slavery.

Julia Ward Howe was intensely aware of the mood of the country. She was an abolitionist and felt strongly about the necessity of the war. Mrs. Howe wrote the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" with the intended purpose of creating a stirring hymn to rouse the nation to fight against slavery. It was composed in the dark one early morning after she had gone to see a review of the Union army near Washington.

There are five stanzas to the hymn. The poem is written as if it were a revelation from God, much in the vein of the last book in the Bible. Click on the links below to delve into each particular stanza:

  1. Verse 1: Trampling out the Vintage
  2. Verse 2: The Watch-fires of a Hundred Circling Camps
  3. Verse 3: A Fiery Gospel
  4. Verse 4: Be Jubilant My Feet
  5. Verse 5: Let Us Die to Make Men Free

This web folio thoroughly explores the "Battle Hymn of the Republic". The best way to get all of the information is to use the "next page" links at the bottom of each page. To immediately drill down, simply use the navigation links in the left column or the links in the text above. This folio was written by W.J. Rayment

Next Page: Context of Battle Hymn of the Republic

Interesting Fact:

The verses of the Battle Hymn of the Republic in most modern hymn books are not the same as originally written by Julia Ward Howe.

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