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The first part of the song is anticipated by other Emmett compositions, including " De Wild Goose-Nation " , itself a derivative of " Gumbo Chaff " s and ultimately an 18th-century English song called " Bow Wow Wow ".
The second part is probably related to even older material, most likely Scottish folk songs. As with other blackface material, performances of "Dixie" were accompanied by dancing. The song is a walkaround , which originally began with a few minstrels acting out the lyrics, only to be joined by the rest of the company a dozen or so individuals for the Bryants. Countless lyrical variants of "Dixie" exist, but the version attributed to Dan Emmett and its variations are the most popular. The song presented the point of view, common to minstrelsy at the time, that slavery was overall a positive institution.
The fact that "Dixie" and its precursors are dance tunes only further made light of the subject. The lyrics use many common phrases found in minstrel tunes of the day—"I wish I was in The second stanza clearly echoes "Gumbo Chaff" from the s: As with other minstrel material, "Dixie" entered common circulation among blackface performers, and many of them added their own verses or altered the song in other ways.
Emmett himself adopted the tune for a pseudo-African American spiritual in the s or s. The chorus changed to:. Both Union and Confederate composers produced war versions of the song during the American Civil War.
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These variants standardized the spelling and made the song more militant, replacing the slave scenario with specific references to the conflict or to Northern or Southern pride. This Confederate verse by Albert Pike is representative:. Hear the Northern thunders mutter! Northern flags in South wind flutter; Send them back your fierce defiance! Stamp upon the cursed alliance! Then away, then away, then away to the fight! Go meet those Southern traitors, With iron will. And should your courage falter, boys, Remember Bunker Hill.
The Stars and Stripes forever! Our Union shall not sever!
Why is the South known as “Dixie”?
A second "unofficial" Union version was popular among Union troops, referred to as Union Dixie:. Away down South in the land of traitors, Rattlesnakes and alligators , Right away, come away, right away, come away. Where cotton's king and men are chattels , Union boys will win the battles, Right away, come away, right away, come away. The True 'Dixie' for Northern Singers" takes a different approach, turning the original song on its head:.
Den I'm glad I'm not in Dixie Hooray! In Yankee land I'll took my stand, Nor lib no die in Dixie . Soldiers on both sides wrote endless parody versions of the song. Often these discussed the banalities of camp life: Aside from its being rendered in standard English, the chorus was the only section not regularly altered, even for parodies.
I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten, Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land. Then I wish I was in Dixie, hooray! According to tradition, Ohio -born minstrel show composer Daniel Decatur Emmett wrote "Dixie" around For example, in various versions of the story, Emmett claimed to have written "Dixie" in a few minutes, in a single night, and over a few days. By this account, Emmett shut himself inside his New York flat and wrote the song that Sunday evening.
Other details emerge in later accounts. In one, Emmett claimed that "Suddenly, I jumped up and sat down at the table to work. In less than an hour I had the first verse and chorus. After that it was easy. I hummed the old refrain, 'I wish I was in Dixie,' and the inspiration struck me. I took my pen and in ten minutes had written the first verses with music.
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The remaining verses were easy. The original manuscript has been lost; extant copies were made during Emmett's retirement, starting in the s. Emmett's tardiness registering the copyright for the song allowed it to proliferate among other minstrel groups and variety show performers. Rival editions and variations multiplied in songbooks , newspapers and broadsides. The earliest of these that is known today is a copyrighted edition for piano from the John Church Company of Cincinnati , published on June 26, Other publishers attributed completely made-up composers with the song: Several theories exist regarding the origin of the term "Dixie".
He befriended so many slaves before the Civil War that his place became a sort of a paradise to them. Street says that "Johaan Dixie" was a Haarlem Manhattan Island farmer who decided that his slaves were not profitable because they were idle during the New York winter, so he sent them to Charleston where they were sold.
The most popular theory maintains that the term originated in the Mason—Dixon line. It appeared second to last on the bill, perhaps an indication of the Bryants' lack of faith that the song could carry the minstrel show's entire finale. It became a favorite of Abraham Lincoln and was played during his campaign in Dixie" has become an institution, an irrepressible institution in this section of the country As a consequence, whenever "Dixie" is produced, the pen drops from the fingers of the plodding clerk, spectacles from the nose and the paper from the hands of the merchant, the needle from the nimble digits of the maid or matron, and all hands go hobbling, bobbling in time with the magical music of "Dixie.
Dixie (song) - Wikipedia
On the surface "Dixie" seems an unlikely candidate for a Southern hit; it has a Northern composer, stars a black protagonist, is intended as a dance song, and lacks any of the patriotic bluster of most national hymns and marches. Jefferson Davis on Feb. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind.
Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Dixie region, United States. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles: As defined by the U. Confederate States of America , in the American Civil War, the government of 11 Southern states that seceded from the Union in —61, carrying on all the affairs of a separate government and conducting a major war until defeated in the spring of Virginia, constituent state of the United States of America, one of the original 13 colonies.
Retrieved 25 Oct Retrieved February 23, Retrieved November 24, An Essay in Folk Geography", [in: Gibbs Knotts, "Declining Dixie: Regional Identification in the Modern American South", [in: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends. Retrieved from " https: Julian—Gregorian uncertainty Coordinates on Wikidata. Views Read Edit View history.