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Learning United States History Through Music
by Alex Cosper (9/7/16)

United States history is not one of America's most knowledgeable topics. Part of the problem is that history is taught in such a boring fashion in public schools, much like math. They never explain why what they make you remember is important and just try to force hard facts down your throat. These facts are usually told without much emotion or sense of curiosity.

Music has been proven to be a learning tool on many levels. Through song lyrics, it's possible to make any form of education more insightful. Melodies do not have to be complex. In fact, the more simple the song is, the easier it is to remember, which is the true power of educational songwriter. There are plenty of popular as well as unknown songs with an intent just to be enjoyable that still pass the test of explaining moments in history.

So here is a loose history of the U.S. with the help of well known songs from various eras. Not all the songs listed here are about the specific historic events they are associated with, put they still help paint pictures of historic scenery.

1776 - Declaration of Independence
Neil Young - Keep On Rockin' In the Free World

1787 - Birth of the U.S. Constitution in 1787
Sandy Wilbur - We The People (The Constitution Song)

1789 - George Washington Becomes the First President
Mr. Beat's Social Studies Channel - The George Washington Song

1812 - War of 1812 With Britain
Johnny Horton - Battle of New Orleans

1833 - End of the Central Bank
Beatles - You Never Give Me Your Money

1837 - Panic of 1837
Jayber Crow - Panic of 1837

1849 - California Gold Rush
Oh Susanna! (traditional)

1861 - Civil War
Battle Hymn of the Republic (traditional)

1863 - First Transcontinental Railroad
I've Been Working on the Railroad (traditional)

1865 - Age of Recontruction
Lincoln and Liberty (traditional)

1877 - Invention of the Telephone
Electric Light Orchestra - Telephone Line

1900 - Modern Industrial Revolution
Dire Straits - Industrial Disease

1907 - Panic of 1907
Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watch Tower

1908 - Ford Begins to Mass Produce the Model T
Gary Numan - Cars

1913 - 16th Amendment: Birth of the IRS
Beatles - Taxman

1913 - Passage of the Federal Reserve Act
O'Jays - For the Love of Money

1917 - World War I Begins
Morton Harvey - I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be a Soldier

1919 - Beginning of Prohibition Era, Outlawing Alcohol
Billy Murray - Alcoholic Blues (Prohibition Song)

1920 - Women's Suffrage
Music of the Nation Singers - Daughters of Freedom

1920 - Radio Spreads Across America
Irving Kaufman - I Wish There Was a Wireless To Heaven

1927 - First Talking Film: The Jazz Singer
Al Jolson - Blue Skies

1929 - Stock Market Crash and Great Depression Begins
Bing Crosby - Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

1933 - FDR Introduces the New Deal
Leo Reisman & His Orchestra - Happy Days Are Here Again

1933 - End of Prohibition
John Lee Hooker - One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

1938 - Orson Welles Hosts "War of the Worlds" Radio Broadcast
Ella Fitzgerald - Two Little Men In a Flying Saucer

1939 - Hitler Invades Poland, Starting WWII
Die Wacht Am Rhein (German military song)

1941 - US Introduces First Peacetime Draft
Andrews Sisters - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

1941 - Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor, US Enters WWII
Don Reid & Sammy Kaye - Remember Pearl Harbor

1944 - FDR Signs G.I. Bill, which Expands U.S. Middle Class
Woody Guthrie - This Land Is Your Land

1945 - US and Allied Forces Win WWII
Rush - Manhattan Project

1950 - US Enters War with Korea
Jackie Doll & His Pickled Peppers - When They Drop the Atomic Bomb

1951 - I Love Lucy Ushers in Television Show Format
I Love Lucy TV Theme

1955 - Rock and Roll Enters American Mainstream
Bill Haley & The Comets - Rock Around the Clock

1956 - Interstate Highway Act Passes to Build Coast to Coast Highways
Nat King Cole - Route 66

1960 - JFK Becomes Youngest Elected President, The New Frontier Begins
Frank Sinatra - High Hopes (Kennedy Campaign Version, 1960)

1962 - First U.S. Satellite Launched to Transmit Pictures from Space
Tornados - Telstar

1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis
Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

1963 - JFK Assassination
Byrds - He Was a Friend of Mine

1964 - Beatles Invade America, Appear on Ed Sullivan Show
Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand

1964 - Civil Rights Act
Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come

1964 - Gulf of Tonkin Incident Escalates Vietnam War
Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction

1965 - Color TV Begins to Dominate Networks
Theme from Gilligan's Island

1965 - Rise of the War Protest Movement
Phil Ochs - I Ain't Marchin' Anymore

1966 - John Lennon Says Beatles are "Bigger Than Jesus"
Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows

1968 - MLK and RFK Assassinations
Dion - Abraham, Martin and John

1969 - Neil Armstrong Is the First Man on the Moon
David Bowie - Space Oddity

1969 - Beatles Perform for First Global Satellite Broadcast
Beatles - All You Need Is Love

1970 - Nixon Orders Shooting of Kent State Students
Crosby, Stills, Nasy & Young - Ohio

1971 - Decline of Counter-Culture Movement
Don McLean - American Pie

1972 - Women's Liberation Movement
Helen Reddy - I Am Woman

1973 - US Oil Embargo Causes Oil Shortage
NRBQ - Get That Gasoline Blues

1974 - Nixon Resigns Over Watergate Scandal
Stevie Wonder - You Haven't Done Nothing

1975 - US Involvement in Vietnam War Comes to an End
Paul Hardcastle - 19

1979 - Iran Captures US Hostages
REM - Ignoreland

1981 - Launch of MTV
Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star

1987 - Iran Contra Affair - Reagan Admits Trading Arms for Hostages
Don Henley - All She Wants To Do Is Dance

1989 - Fall of the Berlin Wall
Jesus Jones - Right Here, Right Now

1991 - Collapse of the Soviet Union
Red Flag - Russian Radio

1991 - US Bombs Iran to Block Kuwait Invasion
Bad Religion - Atomic Garden

1997 - Beginning of the Dot-com Bubble
Prince - Computer Blue

2000 - Crash of the Dot-com Bubble
Three Doors Down - Kryptonite

2001 - World Trade Center Attacked on 9/11
Enya - Only Time

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