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Patriotic march song the sons of Uncle Sam

Date: 1908
Overall: 343 x 236 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00004337
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    'The Son's of Uncle Sam' was published in Sydney to celebrate and welcome the United States' 1908 Great White Fleet goodwill tour to Australia and New Zealand. Sheet music was used as a promotional tool to foster patriotism and international relations. This booklet's cover features an engraving of the American fleet sailing in formation with USS CONNECTICUT in the lead, within a border framed by the American and Australian flags. It was written for male vocal with orchestra accompaniment.
    SignificanceThis patriotic marching song repesents the visit of the Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908. It demonstrates how sheet music was circulated to promote national identity, foreign relations and patriotism in the early 20th century.
    HistoryIn December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent a US Atlantic Battle Fleet of 16 battleships on a 14 month goodwill cruise around the world. The fleet was a chance for the Navy to practice seamanship and express America's world power. Roosevelt was also concerned about rising Japanese aggression and their expansionist foreign policy. The cruise would be a political and public relations exercise to build domestic support for more naval construction.

    Led by the flagship, USS CONNECTICUT, the Great White Fleet as it became known, consisted of 16 battleships painted white, as was the practice of all US Navy ships in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each. Early in the voyage the order of the ships was altered to allow the best-looking vessels to be at the front of the fleet. The cruise incorporated six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports with 614 officers and 13,504 crew. It consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition and was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation of the globe.

    Australia was not originally on the itinerary route of the Great White Fleet, who only decided to visit after receiving a direct invitation from the Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. One quarter of the Australian population, over one million people, saw the Great White Fleet during its three-week visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. Public holidays were declared and enthusiastic crowds flocked to see the ships and parades. Vast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria.

    Sheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were fairly cheap to purchase making them accessible to a general public. Music was integral to peoples' social interaction at home and in the public sphere at events such as balls, recitals, taverns, concerts and theatres. Waltzes, quadrilles, galops, polkas and mazurkas were everyday favourites for social recreation but music was also used to unite the nation behind causes and public occasions. Through the production of anthems, ceremonial hymns, fanfares and marches Australian views of patriotism, nationhood and identity were formed.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Patriotic march song the sons of Uncle Sam

    Assigned title: Written to celebrate the 1908 visit of the United States fleet (the great white fleet) to Australia and New Zealand

    Web title: The Sons of Uncle Sam

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