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In 1768, a Boston newspaper printed "The Liberty Song" by John Dickinson, a future governor of Delaware and Pennsylvania. Drawing on the tune of a 1759 British song, "Heart of Oak," written in celebration of Britain's victory in the Seven Years' War, "The Liberty Song" sounded a bold attack on British oppression. Featuring the famous phrase-- "By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall"—the song called on "brave Americans all" to "rouse your bold hearts to fair Liberty's Call" and to allow "no tyrannous Acts" to "stain with Dishonour America's name."

Just two months later, the same Boston newspaper published a parody of "The Liberty Song," ridiculing the opponents of British policy. This song's chorus declared: "In Folly you're born, and in Folly you'll live…Not as Men, but as Monkies (sic)…."

The conflict between Loyalists and Patriots took place not only in political tracts and orations, but in song as well. The Revolutionary era saw a host of songs that spelled out the ideological differences between proponents and opponents of a break with Britain.

During the Revolutionary war itself, there were two important kinds of military music. Field music, played primarily by drummers and fifers, helped marching soldiers keep cadence during marches and maneuvers, and signaled soldiers about the kinds of actions they were to take. Military bands, which included bassoons, clarinets, French horns, and oboes, provided music for parades and entertainment for officers.

The most popular song of the Revolution, "Yankee Doodle," has roots that trace back at least as far back as the era of the English Civil War in the sixteenth century. During the Seven Years' War, British soldiers sang the song to deride the colonists, who, in the Revolution, turned the song into a patriotic anthem.

Although it is often said that a British band played the song "The World Turned Upside Down" following the American victory at the battle of Yorktown, that claim was not made until the 1820s, more than 40 years after the Revolution was over.