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Francis Scott Key

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• Fort McHenry
Star-Spangled Banner
War of 1812
Battle of Baltimore


Definition: Lawyer and amateur poet who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner, which has become the national anthem of the United States. On September 13, 1814, during the War of 1812, the British bombed Fort McHenry, near Baltimore. It was a terrible battle, and it lasted most of the day and night. In the early part of September 14, Key saw the U.S. flag still flying. He was so moved by this experience that he began to write on the back of a letter he had in his pocket. He finished the poem, all four verses, a little while later. It was later printed as "Defence of Fort M'Henry."

Related Resources:
The War of 1812
Find out more about the second war between the United States and Great Britain.

The 19th Century
Get a glimpse of what life was like in the exciting 1800s.

Elsewhere on the Web:
Biography of Francis Scott Key
Read more about the life of this famous American.

The Writing of the Star-Spangled Banner
It's almost as if you're there.

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