“Uncle Sam's Farm”

Author: The Hutchinson family (credited to Jesse Hutchinson Jr.)
Earliest date: 1850 (sheet music)
Keywords: political nonballad America technology work
Found in: US(SE)

Description

"Of all the mighty nations in the east or in the west, Oh this glorious Yankee nation is the greatest and the best... Here's a general invitation to the people of the world." The singer promises them farms, lists the U.S. boundaries, praises its freedom

Notes

The statement, "Uncle Sam's rich enough to give us all a farm" appears to refer to the Homestead Act, allowing anyone to acquire western land for a nominal fee. Obviously it dates from before 1923, when the U. S. effectively closed its doors to immigrants.

It will be noted that the song seems to predate the Homestead Act. It does not, however, predate the idea of a homestead act. J. G. Randall's _The Civil War and Reconstruction_ (second edition by David Donald, Heath, 1961), p. 81, notes that "Southern congressmen repeatedly helped defeat homestead legislation which would have encouraged free-soil settlement of the national territories." Once the South was out of Congress due to the Civil War, the act passed.

Laura Ingalls Wilder quotes a snippet of this in chapter seven of _By the Shores of Silver Lake_; she does not follow the Hutchinson Family words very closely. I find myself wondering what Laura -- who was quite conservative -- would have thought of the song had she realized that it was by those radical egalitarian liberals the Hutchinsons. - RBW

Historical references

References

  1. BrownIII 399, "Uncle Sam's Farm" (1 text)
  2. DT, USFARM
  3. Roud #4556
  4. BI, Br3399