The Star-Spangled Banner Song’s History

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States. By the time the song officially became the country’s anthem in 1931, it had been one of America’s most popular patriotic tunes for more than a century. The anthem’s history began the morning of September 14, 1814, when an attorney and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key watched U.S. soldiers—who were under bombardment from British naval forces during the War of 1812—raise a large American flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.

CONTENTS

Background: War of 1812

Francis Scott Key

Who Wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”?

From Drinking Song to American Anthem

Key’s Complicated Legacy

Growing Popularity of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

History of the National Anthem at Sporting Events

Sources

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