A Short Essay on the Star Spangled-Banner


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A Short Essay on the Star Spangled-Banner

The article introduces the reader to the origins of the star spangled banner as the national anthem of the United States of America. He proceeds to describe the background of the song, which began as a poem. The author then concludes his discussion by describing its adoption as an anthem. The writer’s primary thesis is to provide the reader with the facts about the origin of the chorale, which began as a verse composition and dispel any myths concerning it.

Mongelluzzo begins by describing events that led to the arrest of a respected physician, William Beanes, and the president’s decision to send a lawyer to obtain the doctor’s release. However, at first, it is not easy for the reader to determine how this particular story relates to the origin of the anthem. The connection does not become clear in the next verses either. It is not until the author describes the battle, detailing its motivation and the decision made by the British, that the author begins to see the association.

 Francis Scott Key, the lawyer who was sent to seek the physician’s release, was at the fort when Britain sent its naval fleet to attack after failing in the land battle. The bravery of the American soldiers inspired him while he was down at the river observing the action. Key used this inspiration to write the poem, which then became the anthem (Mongelluzzo, 2012). It would not be possible for the reader to understand the origin and insight behind the composition without such a detailed introduction. Describing how Key happened to be near the battle scene is essential as well, especially to future historians who might want to dispute his presence by claiming he was not among the fighting soldiers. Therefore, although the introduction seems far off, it ends up answering many questions that the reader might have.

After detailing the inspiration behind the poem, Mongelluzzo reveals the process in which it came to be an anthem. It is interesting that both sides that were engaged in the civil war used to sing the song. Its popularity shows its overall acceptability among the people irrespective of their political opinions and beliefs. The song became an unofficial chorale in the military before its adoption as the national anthem.

The author proceeds to dispel some of the myths associated with the Star – Spangled Banner. Some Americans believe that the flag flew during the battle. However, this is highly unlikely because, as the author notes, it would not have been possible since the flag was woolen and a summer storm characterized this period. The author observes that Key would have seen a larger flag flown the next morning by the British after the battle had started (Mongelluzzo, 2012). In addition, the author notes that Key did not write the poem at the back of an envelope since this form of stationery was not invented at the time. Such detailing is essential in dispelling any of the myths associated with the origin of the anthem and other events that followed.

Mongelluzzo succeeds in fulfilling his thesis of giving a history of the Star – Spangled Banner. He has taken the effort to ensure that he seeks to describe the events as they happened by using historical facts. Most importantly, he has included details that have made it possible to dispel some of the myths associated with the flag and the origin of the poem. Despite the challenges in authenticating these facts, the origin of the anthem remains primarily uncontested and only minute disparities exist in various recollections of the incident.


Mongelluzzo, Amato. “A Short Essay on the Star Spangled-Banner.” American History, 2012. http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/essays/general/a-short-essay-on-the-star-spangled-banner-amato-p-mongelluzzo.php

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