Songs in the Key of President C

A Short History of Music on the Campaign Trail (Digital Lecture)

From the 1840 bid of William Henry Harrison, who was “sung into office,” to Donald Trump, who entered the 2016 Republican National Convention to Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” music has played a significant role in presidential campaign pageantry. This lecture traces the history of the campaign song through examples that span from 1840, the first campaign marked by unprecedented musical activity, to the most recent 2016 presidential race in order to shed light on the aural dimension of electoral politics.

This lecture was made possible by the Digital Lectures in American Music initiative, sponsored by the Society for American Music’s Education Committee. Aimed at a general audience, each Digital Lecture seeks to explore a compelling topic of broad interest and to engage with contemporary scholarship in American music studies.

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