Julia Ward Howe and the Battle Hymn of the Republic lesson uses primary sources to challenge students to discover how an inspirational poem turned into a soldier's song during the Civil War.
With the teachers help students will analyze a first day cover (an envelope containing a commemorative stamp, appropriate postmark and artwork) to learn about Julia Ward Howe and how she came to write the poem that was named the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Students will read through the verses and identify "words of war" that might inspire soldiers. If time allows students can do choral readings with the girls reading the verses and the boys the chorus, or the class might step out and have the girls sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the boys sing John Brown's Body since both are sung to the same tune. What song or songs inspire soldiers today as they fight the war against terrorism?