Learn American History through 50 pop songs

7 The Rev Up! (to Revolution)

22 13th 14th 15th Amendment

43 The Cold War

44 Civil Rights Fights

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The Rev Up! (to Revolution)

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

“These colonies belong to us!” railed King George to Parliament
British sweat and British blood they call ‘American’
Well, they’re not American - they belong to England!
They’re not American - they belong to England!

“The pompous British fools!” screamed Patrick Henry in Virginia
We’re more than British tools we are ‘America’
We are American – and we don’t need Mother England!
Yes, now we are American – and we don’t want Mother England!

We’ve defended them from Indians and we’ve built their infrastructure
We’ll tax them for the debt we’re in and with the Stamp Act they will suffer
They call themselves Americans but they belong to England!
They’re not American - they belong to England!

Now they’re charging us for paper, we oppose this damn taxation
As unlawful and unfair without representation
Because we are American and we don’t need Mother England!
Yes, now we are American – and we don’t want Mother England!

They’re boycotting all our goods! Those colonists defy us
But pay their share they should so on the Townsend Act we’ll focus
Because they’re not American – they belong to England
They’re not American - they belong to England!

Now there are levies on our glass, our lead, paper, paint, and tea
We will not pay the tax we will rally in the street
For we are Americans – and we don’t need Mother England
Yes, now we are American – and we don’t want Mother England!

In a snowy Boston square an angry mob descended
Our troops fired in despair because they felt their lives were threatened
They call themselves Americans but they belong to England!
They’re not American - they belong to England!

Those Redcoat British thugs, an atrocity’s occurred
They murdered in cold blood, it was a ‘Boston Massacre’
It happened to Americans damn those bloody English!
We must protect Americans from those bloody English!

We’ll repeal the Townsend duties but a tea tax must remain
Our East India Tea Company from ruins must be saved
For the colonists in America they don’t realize we are England!
They think that they can break the rules but we’ll show them they need England!

Dressed as Mohawks undercover, we Sons of Liberty
We’ll sneak into the harbor and have a ‘Boston Tea Party’
They say we’re not Americans but we’ll show Mother England
They can have back all their tea, DRINK UP Mother England!

“That’s it I’ve reached the end,” King George yelled when the tea was tossed
“Now Coercive Acts we’ll send, until these rebel thoughts are lost”
Take that ‘Americans’ don’t play with Mother England!
Stand back ‘Americans’ cause here comes Mother England!

Now we’re forced to house their soldiers and our ports are closed throughout Boston
These Intolerable Acts we’ll shoulder as we prepare for ‘Revolution!’
Because we are American – and we don’t need Mother England!
Yes, now we are American – and we’re done with Mother England!

13th 14th 15th Amendment

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

Free at last but what does it mean?
Free at last but what does it mean?
Free at last but what does it mean?
Chains no more – broken by Civil War
Slavery banned for every woman and man
Liberty and freedom for all, finally written into law
With tears we read Amendment 13
Free at last but… what does freedom mean?

Soon we learn that free don’t mean free
Soon we learn that free don’t mean free
Soon we learn that free don’t mean free
Of course the Man had a backup plan
Black Codes spread throughout the Southland
Our own guns we can’t tote
Can’t serve on juries, can’t cast a vote
Keeping us down to this Black Codes see
Soon we learn that free… don’t always mean free

Ain’t got no 40 acres, I ain’t got no mule
Workin’ the planter’s land, with the planter’s tool
I’m just a sharecropper, barely gettin’ by
I ain’t got nothing here but freedom, nothing but freedom

A step up with Amendment 14
A step up with Amendment 14
A step up with Amendment 14
From Washington’s Radical Republicans
Sayin’ everyone born in the United States
Regardless of skin color, race, or religion
Was really and legally an American citizen
Equality still a far off distant dream
A step further we came… with Amendment 14

Ain’t got no 40 acres, I ain’t got no mule
Workin’ the planter’s land, with the planter’s tools
I’m just a sharecropper, barely gettin’ by
I ain’t got nothing here but freedom, nothing but freedom

With every step forward two steps back
Separate fountains and everything for white and black
Taxes and tests if we want to vote
Holding us down with Ol’ Jim Crow
And when Plessy versed Ferguson, segregation became in again
Separates not equal for white and black
With every step forward, two steps back

Milestone of 1869
Milestone of 1869
Milestone of 1869
The right to vote – a glimmer of hope
Praise the Lord – this one’s no joke
Finally a voice for our shouts
A political, lawful avenue out
Much more to do but it’s a moment in time
Amendment 15 in 18… 1869

Ain’t got no 40 acres, I ain’t got no mule
Workin’ the planter’s land, with the planter’s tools
I’m just a sharecropper, barely getting’ by
I ain’t got nothing here but freedom, nothing but freedom

The Cold War

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

We worried when the Iron Curtain fell across Europe
America and Britain tried hard to stop it
Those Soviets drove deep into Germany
Started to mess with Greece, Turkey, and Italy
Here in the West we said this was a no-no
If we let one fall to communism, then they’d all go, like dominoes
This, warned Truman, just can’t happen
Gotta keep communism trapped with heavy containment

Cold, cold, cold, cold war
Superpowers US and USSR
For 50 years a silent roar
Of the cold, cold, cold, cold war

Truman’s plan beefed up worldwide armies
And Marshall’s Plan rebuilt Europe’s economy
We were hoping that these strategies would surely be able to keep
Some borderline nations out of Soviet reach
There was no denying a line was being drawn
Between the East and the West and that the tensions were strong, so strong
They formed the Warsaw Pact, we formed NATO
But we couldn’t avoid a war in Korea

Cold, cold, cold, cold war
Superpowers US and USSR
For 50 years a silent roar
Of the cold, cold, cold, cold war

We were still scared, the cold war continued to wage
Berlin in Germany took center stage
Since ’48 Germany had been split into two zones
Stalin closed the railways, rivers, and roads
Then in ’61 East Berlin was sealed tightly from all
When in a matter of days East Germany built a wall, the Berlin Wall
And of course we knew the Soviets had nukes
Giving a new chilling meaning to ‘put up your dukes’

Cold, cold, cold, cold war
Superpowers US and USSR
For 50 years a silent roar
Of the cold, cold, cold, cold war

McCarthy screamed “Red scare! Red scare”
Communists everywhere!
Red scare! Red scare!
In the end it was so unfair

But communist threat wasn’t just far off in Russia
Right south of our border we had Castro and Cuba
With Soviet help they were growing too strong and too big
The JFK helped them out with his screwed up Bay of Pigs
In ’62 it escalated into the Cuban Missile Crisis
They tried putting missiles on Cuba and pointing them at us
At the end of the standoff it was Kruchev who blinked (so we think)
But a full scale nuclear was we were right on the brink

Cold, cold, cold, cold war
Superpowers US and USSR
For 50 years a silent roar
Of the cold, cold, cold, cold war

Civil Rights Fights

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

So Oliver Brown versed the Topeka Board of Education
To send his little girl Linda to a neighborhood school, all Caucasian
Not bussed away out of town to another school, all brown
Thurgood Marshall prosecuted against separatism deeply rooted
Chief Justice Warren ruled integration now at schools

But in Little Rock, Arkansas the governor felt no obligation
He sent the National Guard to Central High, all Caucasian
So Eisenhower shut him down and let the students in, all brown
Little Rock had resisted, the federal government insisted
Like every school across the nation, you must now end segregation

We’re gonna fight for our rights
We’re gonna stand tall and proud
We’re gonna march in the streets
We’re gonna sing it out loud
That all men by nature are equal and free
We’ve got unalienable right of life and liberty
And the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of happiness

On a bus ride in Alabama Rose Parks faced aggravation
When a bus driver said “Get up out your seat for this man, he’s Caucasian”
Rosa Parks did not let him sit down, she sat with dignity and pride, all brown
But pretty quick she was arrested, the NAACP protested
And throughout Montgomery a bus boycott came to be

Dr. Martin Luther King inspired peaceful confrontation
Like the sit-ins at counters in restaurants once reserved only for Caucasians
It’s time to end this run around, we’ll show our courage, all brown
With civil disobedience, a method of non-violence
Martin from the Good Book read that Jesus turned his cheek instead

We’re gonna fight for our rights
We’re gonna stand tall and proud
We’re gonna march in the streets
We’re gonna sing it out loud
That all men by nature are equal and free
We’ve got unalienable right of life and liberty
And the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of happiness