“Adams and Liberty”


Written for the John Adams campaign, but in praise of American freedom (it never mentions Adams): "Ye sons of Columbia, who bravely have fought For those rights which unstained from your sires have descended" (and so on, for nine weary stanzas)


It may reasonably be questioned if anyone actually survived reading (let alone singing) this piece. Paine (whom Spaeth says was regarded as "vain, lazy, and vicious," and a "literary hack") was nonetheless paid $750 for his efforts. (And you thought the Defense Department overpaid for the goods it received.)

If this song has any distinction at all, it is that it is probably the version of the "Anacreon" tune known to Ferdinand Durang, who later fitted the tune to "The Star Spangled Banner." - RBW

Historical references

  • 1796 - John Adams's first (successful) Presidential campaign
  • 1797-1801 - Adams's Presidency
  • 1800 - Adams is defeated for re-election by Thomas Jefferson

Cross references


  1. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 11-14, "Adams and Liberty" (1 text, tune referenced)
  2. BI, SRW011


Author: Words: Robert Treate Paine, Jr.
Earliest date: 1798 (composed)