Who Was Yankee Doodle?

posted in: Patriotic | 0

In the spirit of the Fourth of July, let’s take a look at the history behind the popular song Yankee Doodle Dandy.

We all think about the Revolutionary War when we hear the song, however the folk song dates back to even before the Revolutionary War.

Yankee Doodle Dandy dates back to the Seven Years War.  The earliest known version of the lyrics dates back to sometime around 1755, but the lyrics are much different from those we know today.

Some sources claim the song first appeared as a nursery rhyme ridiculing England’s Oliver Cromwell as “Nankee Doodle.”

The origins of the term Yankee are unknown, but some attribute to Dutch origins. The first recorded use of the word was in 1758 by British General James Wolfe.  He used the word to refer to the New England soldiers that were under his command in the colonies.

The author of the lyrics are unknown, but some attribute them to Dr. Richard Shuckburgh, a British Army Surgeon.  The story say he wrote the song after seeing the appearance of the Colonial Troops under the director of Col. Thomas Fitch V.   The Colonel was the son of the Connecticut governor, Thomas Fitch.

British soldiers made fun of the colonist

The British military officers originally sung the song to mock the colonial Yankees, with whom they served beside in the French Indian War {also known as the Seven Years War}.

The tune, which comes from the nursery rhyme Lucy Locket, became popular among the British as well as the colonial rebels.

The American army embraced the derisive song and when Gen. Cornwallis’ troops surrendered at Yorktown to end the war, they march out of the fort.

For information on the George M. Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandy click here

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