Yankee Doodle

Original Lyrics by Dr. Richard Shuckburgh

Yankee Doodle went to town
Riding on a pony
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Gooding
 there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

There was Captain Washington
Upon a strapping stallion
Giving orders to his men
I guess there was a million.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

Yankee Doodle is a tune
That comes in mighty handy
The enemy all runs away at
Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

 

yankee-doodle-or-the-spirit-of-76-archib

"Yankee Doodle" is a well-known American song, the early versions of which date to before the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution. It is often sung patriotically in the United States.  The melody is thought to be much older than both the lyrics and the subject, going back to folk songs of Medieval Europe.

In British conversation, the term "Yankee doodle dandy" implied unsophisticated misappropriation of high-class fashion, as though simply sticking a feather in one's cap would make one noble. Peter McNeil, professor of fashion studies, claims that the British were insinuating that the colonists were low-class men lacking masculinity, emphasizing that the American men were womanly.

 

The song was a pre-Revolutionary War song originally sung by British military officers to mock the disheveled, disorganized colonial "Yankees" with whom they served in the French and Indian War. It was written around 1755 by British Army surgeon Dr. Richard Shuckburgh while campaigning in upper New York, and the British troops sang it to make fun of their stereotype of the American soldier as a Yankee simpleton who thought that he was stylish if he simply stuck a feather in his cap.

 

It was also popular among the Americans as a song of defiance, and they added verses to it that mocked the British troops and hailed George Washington as the Commander of the Continental army. By 1781, Yankee Doodle had turned from being an insult to being a song of national pride.