Julia Ward Howe and the
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Inspired by Elvis Presley's magnificent American Trilogy, I decided to take a look at how Julia Ward Howe came to write the Battle Hymn of the Republic in the first year of the Civil War. As often happens, it was a much more interesting story than I expected.
Julia Ward Howe and her husband were very active in the anti-slavery movement in the difficult years leading up to the Civil War.
She wrote in her memoirs, "My husband's sympathies were entirely with the class then derided as 'a band of disturbers of the public peace, enemies of law and order.' I deeply regretted the discords of the time, and would have had all people good friends, however diverse in political persuasion. As this could not be, I felt constrained to cast in my lot with those who protested against the new assumptions of the slave power."