“Jefferson and Liberty”


Campaign song for Thomas Jefferson, to the tune of a reel: "The gloomy night before us flies, The reign of terror now is o'er; Its gags, inquisitors and spies, Its hordes of harpies are no more. Rejoice, Columbia's sons... For Jefferson and liberty"


The Jeffersonian ideal was a nation of small, independent farmers; this is alluded to in one of the verses. The "reign of terror" refers to the Alien and Sedition Acts, two pieces of Federalist policy designed to control dissent. Both passed in 1798; the former gave the President the power to arbitrarily expel foreigners while the latter made it illegal to speak against the federal government (!). Jefferson made good on his promises after the election; all victims of the Acts were freed.

Having finally sat down to read all dozen verses of this wordy piece, I must admit that listeners would probably have wanted liberty in the form of forcing the singer to just shut *up.* - RBW

Historical references

  • 1801-1809 - Presidency of Thomas Jefferson

Cross references


  • Pete Seeger, "Jefferson and Liberty" (on PeteSeeger05)


  1. Scott-BoA, pp. 100-101, "Jefferson and Liberty" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Darling-NAS, p. 340, "Jefferson and Liberty" (1 text)
  3. Arnett, pp. 42-43, "Jefferson and Liberty" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 292, "Jefferson And Liberty" (1 text)
  6. Roud #4668
  7. BI, SBoA100


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1800
Keywords: political nonballad
Found in: US