Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » National Anthem (… of Deseret)

National Anthem (… of Deseret)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 04, 2011

Ben at Juvenile Instructor reprints an 1846 editorial, most likely written by Parley P. Pratt, patterned after the American Declaration of Independence, “that exemplifies how Mormons interpreted and framed their experiences in a way that placed them in the lineage of Thomas Jefferson and the other American Founders.” Four years later, Eliza R. Snow wrote a “national anthem” for that people who had declared themselves “free and independent of such outlaws” [i.e., “any of the rulers, priests, or people who are thus manifestly guilty of murder, treason, and other crimes”].

Like that declaration, this anthem illustrates how the Mormons of that generation thought of themselves as the true inheritors of American liberty and independence. They felt fully loyal to the spirit of Jefferson, Adams, Hancock, Washington, and so many others — but their loyalty, their patriotism, wasn’t invested in a political organization, but in the ideals of 1776, which the Mormons had carried with them when they moved West. “The white-crested Eagle has fled to the mountains, The Genius of Liberty follow’d us here.”

National Anthem.

By Eliza R. Snow.

Lo! an Ensign of Peace on the tops of the mountains –
A Banner, a Banner is widely unfurl’d:
Hark! the heralds are sounding a loud proclamation –
Hear, hear the glad message go forth to the world.
Ho, ho! to the States, to the Kingdoms and Empires,
Whose fabrics are tott’ring and ready to fall:
Ho, ho! to all people of every religion,
Art, trade, or profession, the great and the small.
Here is Freedom, glorious Freedom –
Freedom Gods and men hold dear;
The white-crested Eagle has fled to the mountains,
The Genius of Liberty follow’d us here.

The people of Joseph, the Prophet of God,
Are here: we are free from oppression’s rod.
Hosanna, hosanna! to God: He has broke
From off our necks the Gentile yoke,
And has given us a government pure and free,
And we breathe the sweet air of Liberty,
And rejoice in the blessings our forefathers won
When they fought, bravely fought with Washington.

Here intelligence’ richest fountains
Flow, but not from the snow-topp’d mountains;
They flow from heaven;
Men of God by revelation
Teach the precepts of salvation
Freely given;
Eternal principles now unfold –
Jehovah speaks as in days of old;
And we’ll shout hosanna, till nations afar
Shall awake to the sound, and follow the star,
The star of Peace, which o’er Deseret
Arose in full splendor, and never will set.



  1. Awesome find, Ardis.

    My all-time favorite example of the Saints’ devotion to the ideals of ’76 is when the Mormon Battalion chose to march with a flag with 13 stars instead of the current edition.

    Comment by Ben Park — July 4, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  2. Such stirring imagery (‘The white-crested Eagle has fled to the mountains, The Genius of Liberty follow’d us here’)!

    Anybody know what to what tune(s) this text was sung?

    Comment by David Y. — July 5, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  3. It was sung (as a solo, by James Lewis) in 1850, but I don’t know what tune was used, alas.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 5, 2011 @ 2:34 am

  4. As for the tune it was sung to, it will fit any of the popular tunes with a meter of:

    (In other words, with such an unusual meter it was probably sung to something composed specifically for these words.)

    Comment by Paul S. — July 5, 2011 @ 2:40 am

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