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AIR: "Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel"

"Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel" is a minstrel song attributed to Daniel Emmett (the writer of Dixie's Land) and often used by writers to express political opinions. Therefore, it is not surprising to see the tune surface in an Abraham Lincoln campaign songster. The lyrics are written in the black vernacular that was common for minstrel songs. Though the lyrics use 19th century phrases not common to modern listeners, the message calls for slaves to enjoy their revenge. One verse makes it clear that masters who used to whip ("larrup") their slaves will now get whipped when the slave masters are caught on the run. The message resembles Henry C. Work's "Kingdom Coming," a popular minstrel song from 1862. The song is also a reminder that Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, is a traitor and a sinner. In the last verse, the song makes reference to the expected failure of John C. Fremont. Fremont was nominated by the abolitionist wing of the Republican party to replace Lincoln; he was the party's first national candidate in 1856.

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