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Prize banner polka

Memphis, Tenn. : Published by E.A. Benson
Publication Date
  • United States.--Constitution--1860.
  • Eagles--1860.
  • Flags--United States--1860.
  • Musicology


Patently militaristic propaganda for the Union cause in the form of a sheet music cover illustration. Columbia or Liberty stands on the ramparts of a fortress near a cannon pointed across a harbor toward a mountainous landscape. She wears a Phrygian cap and a long gown revealing her left shoulder and breast, and holds a shield and an American flag. At her feet are a fasces (symbol of Union) and an olive branch. With her left foot she crushes a crown. Two more symbols of aristocratic tyranny, a scepter and shackles, lie broken nearby. Surrounding the central picture are shields bearing the initials of the thirteen original states. On either side of the picture stand additional fasces. Below are a scroll (the Constitution) and a sword, and at the top two arrows. The title of the piece suggests that the illustration portrays an actual painted patriotic banner.

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