Yankee Doodle

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For other uses of Yankee Doodle, please see Yankee Doodle (disambiguation).

"Yankee Doodle" is a well-known Anglo-American song, the origin of which dates back to the Seven Years' War. It is often sung patriotically in the United States today and is the state anthem of Connecticut.[1] It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 4501.


History and lyrics

The first verse and refrain, as often sung today, runs:

Traditions place its origin in a pre-Revolutionary War song originally by British military officers to mock the disheveled, disorganized colonial "Yankees" with whom they served in the French and Indian War. It is believed that the tune comes from the nursery rhyme Lucy Locket. One version of the Yankee Doodle lyrics is "generally attributed" to Doctor Richard Shuckburgh,[3] a British Army surgeon. According to one story, Shuckburgh wrote the song after seeing the appearance of Colonial troops under Colonel Thomas Fitch, Jr., the son of Connecticut Governor Thomas Fitch.[2]


As a term Doodle first appeared in the early seventeenth century,[4] and is thought to derive from the Low German dudel or dödel, meaning "fool" or "simpleton". The Macaroni wig was an extreme fashion in the 1770s and became contemporary slang for foppishness.[5] The implication of the verse was therefore probably that the Yankees were so unsophisticated that they thought simply sticking a feather in a cap would make them the height of fashion.[6]

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