Campaign songs have been part of presidential elections for almost as long as there have been presidential elections. These songs were intended to rally the crowd, encourage enthusiasm for the candidate and sometimes say something about the candidate and his beliefs.
Recently candidates have used already-popular songs for their campaign music, but in the past songs were often written specifically for and about candidates. Many pieces of music were written for Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaigns including the Campaign Polka. Tippecanoe and Tyler Too was written for William Henry Harrison, who was known for his victory at the battle of Tippecanoe. Campaign songs also highlighted the military prowess of Ulysses S. Grant.
- Students can compare several campaign songs and determine what components are included in a campaign song. Have them identify what they think makes a campaign song effective and what doesn’t.
Ask students if there is anything that was included in campaign songs in the past that could not be included in today’s campaign music.
- Ask students why they think campaigns use music that has already been released to the public. What other songs do they think could be used for campaign rallies and why? Are there songs they think should not be used?
- Have students pretend they are candidates for office. Have them write a song they would use to get other students to vote for them.
- Have students write a campaign song for one of the current presidential candidates.
How will you incorporate music into your classroom lessons on the elections?