Illustration by Fannie Xie '08
The traditional “American” song Yankee Doodle was written by the British. We have become accustomed to associating the song with our independence and the American Revolution. However, it was actually started by the British as a form of rididcule and taunting. We all know the words:
Yankee Doodle went to town,
A-riding on a pony;
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.
But how many of us know that “macaroni” was a term used to describe British men whose ideas of high fashion were rather humorous. When the colonists attempted to look somewhat uniform and professional on the battlefield, the British army simply considered them “macaroni.”
Eventually, “Yankee Doodle” was created as a song to mock the colonists. However, the colonists remained unphased by the song and later adopted it as a beloved tune. It became a symbol of their rebellion and defiance, and ironically enough, Yankee Doodle was be played at the Battle of Yorktown when the British surrendered.Source: Farah, A. Mounir, and Andrea Beren Karls, “World History: The Human Experience,” 1992, p. 505.