United States History In Song And Rhyme- Piano Score
210 – Piano Score – One needed for performance and practice.
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United States History In Song And Rhyme

This is a fun song and rhyme for children to perform in something like a grade school, set to some of the best U.S. songs now in the public domain.

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United States History In Song And RhymeUnited States History In Song And Rhyme – Script
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United States History In Song And Rhyme

This is a fun song and rhyme for children to perform in something like a grade school, set to some of the best U.S. songs now in the public domain.

Author/Lyricist:    Larry Markus


This is a fun song and rhyme for children to perform in something like a grade school, set to some of the best U.S. songs now in the public domain.

United States History In Song And Rhyme

United States History in Song and Rhyme

(A Musical Play)


Larry G. Markus

United States History In Song And Rhyme

Copyright ©2009 by Larry G. Markus

All Rights Reserved

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that UNITED STATES HISTORY IN SONG AND RHYME is subject to a royalty.  It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth, including Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union.  All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign language are strictly reserved. 

The amateur live stage performance rights to UNITED STATES HISTORY IN SONG AND RHYME are controlled exclusively by Drama Source and royalty arrangements and licenses must be secured well in advance of presentation.  PLEASE NOTE that amateur royalty fees are set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances.  When applying for a royalty quotation and license please give us the number of performances intended, dates of production, your seating capacity and the admission fee.  Royalties are payable one week before the opening performance of the play to Drama Source Co., 1588 E. 361 N., St. Anthony, Idaho 83445. 

Royalty of the required amount must be paid whether the play is presented for charity or gain, and whether or not admission is charged.  For all other rights than those stipulated above, apply to Drama Source Company, 1588 E. 361 N. St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.

Copying from this book in whole or in part is strictly forbidden by law, and the right of performance is not transferable.

Whenever the play is produced, the following notice must appear on all programs, printing and advertising for the play, “Produced by special arrangement with Drama Source Co.”

Due authorship credit must be given on all programs, printing and advertising for the play.

No one shall commit or authorize any act or omission by which the copyright or the rights to copyright of this play may be impaired.

No one shall make changes in this play for the purpose of production without written permission.

Publication of this play does not imply availability for performance.    Both amateurs and professionals considering a production are strongly advised in their own interests to apply to Drama Source Company for written permission before starting rehearsals, advertising, or booking a theatre.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, now known or yet to be invented, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, videotaping or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.


Adaptability: this musical play is adaptable to many different formats and may be performed in a variety of ways. It may be performed by:

v a large group 

v a few talented children

v a narrator and chorus

v a chorus with speakers coming forward  to microphone and returning to chorus

v a small chorus on stage – speakers entering from back stage

v segmenting the play to perform for interest or need categories or time constraints (i.e. PTA program, civic club entertainment, or family night, etc.)

Time: Approximately 60 minutes for whole play with one verse & chorus being sung of   each of the songs. Segments may be easily omitted to meet time requirements.

Number of performers: unlimited because of chorus. A narrator and a small chorus could adequately perform this play. (See In Depth Directions)

Solo Performances: solo opportunities are available with poems and historical document excerpts as well as any song may be a solo performance.

Costumes: this play is very adaptive for varying economic situations. Costumes may be used as desired for historical characters. They may be elaborate, or consist of  appropriate hats, handkerchiefs, scarves, or a symbol of the character.

Props: props for the play may be elaborate or none at all need be used (See Directions). Suggested props: wooden guns and swords, feather quill and Declaration of Independence, tea set, 1700’s flag, stick horse, coon skin cap.


Music: sheet music (see coordinating songbook by the same title) piano, and pianist.  My school music teacher taught the songs in music class and directed the music for the play. Sound equipment as needed for space and audience.

Performance area: Stage is preferable but adequate floor space as available in any large room or gym.

Motivation for writing this play was to find an exciting way to teach history and a method to help children remember it. The combination of rhyme, song, and the repetition of practicing for the presentation have accomplished this end. 

Educational value: Tennessee state history standards for fourth and fifth grades are met and exceeded in this play. Fourth grade standards start with exploration of the new world and ends at 1850. Fifth grade standards begin with the 1820 slave problems and ends with present day history.


The play could be performed with a single narrator and a chorus performing the songs.

Number of Performers: Play contains 18 characters that could have speaking parts. This count includes the Narrator. It may be performed as a chorus with all speaking parts coming forward to the microphone and then returning to join the chorus after each segment ends. All speakers concerning a certain topic or person (i.e. Columbus or David Crockett) would come forward together.

The play may be performed with a smaller chorus on stage and speakers coming forward from backstage (stage left or stage right) to perform each speaking part at the microphone and then exit offstage.

Segments or topics from the play can easily be performed as a stand alone presentation. This allows the presentation time to fluctuate as needed. Segments may be performed for a PTO meeting, civic club entertainment, celebration/anniversary of historical event, or as a presentation to another classroom or grade level. 

The play can easily be divided into segments to be performed by different interested groups consecutively or even at different times. (Each May, the fourth and fifth grade classes at my school work together to perform this play. The fourth grade performs sections up to the “Intermission” which is after the song Oh Susannah and the fifth grade immediately takes the stage to finish the play to the present day.) Each segment lasts about 30 minutes with a great response from the audience.

Solo performances can easily be adapted in many areas of the play. The Statue of Liberty reciting, The Colossus, was a great theatrical addition to the performance by a talented student at my school.

Songs listed in the script can be found in the accompanying song book by the same name (United States History in Song and Rhyme). All of these songs are in public domain which allows them to be used by anyone at any time. Many other songs can be found that fit the appropriate historical time frame or events but are not in public domain. You may be aware of songs that fit events in your own area. (If you desire to substitute copyrighted material, check with your districts legal advisor.) Only one verse and chorus of each song was performed. This also is adaptable according to individual needs and desires for presentation. Of course, solo performances of songs would be a highlight if talent is available.

Costumes may be as elaborate or as simple as desired. The play could be performed without costumes though as in any play costumes add significantly to the overall effect. Costumes for every major historical character are available online. Tri-cornered hats for Paul Revere and patriots. We were able to fine calico and small print “prairies dresses” at local thrift stores. Handkerchiefs, scarves, shawls, caps, and hats can add a lot of color when money is not available to purchase the entire costume. Also, planning for a red, white, and blue color theme makes a cohesive look and is appropriate for this patriotic play. We started with the basics and added costumes, props and scenes each year.   

Props: just like the costumes – props can be limited or elaborate. We added props and costumes each year until every child participating had an outfit to wear and many children had a prop. Examples of Props: 

· Explorers-spy glass, binoculars, wooden swords, and guns. 

· Thomas Jefferson-quill and rolled paper. 

· Boston Tea Party Indians- 3 boxes marked TEA, bow and arrows, plastic daggers, spears. Paul Revere-riding a stick horse. 

· Patriots-wooden guns, swords. 

· Betsy Ross-on stool or chair, needle, thread, copy of original flag which she is sewing. 

· Coon skin cap for Boone and Crockett. Sledge hammer and spike to drive for railroad. Baseball glove and ball with players in uniform. 

· Soup line-bowls or tin cups and ladle.

Author’s Note:

I like to compare my play to a buffet bar. You can pick and choose the parts you wish to use, or you may decide to do the whole thing. At our school the 4th grade does the first part and then my 5th grade comes on stage and completes the rest. Even though students may learn the whole song in music class, we only sing part of them, (usually one verse, and the chorus) to control the time element. Each part takes about 30 minutes. The play is very adaptable by using the parts you wish and/or adding any you wish to create yourself, especially about your area.         

This play has been performed on a yearly basis for five years at the same school and parents who have seen it more than once still compliment it and enjoy it. 

Listing of Characters


Paul Revere

Patrick Henry

Thomas Jefferson

Ben Franklin

George Washington

Davy Crockett

Chief Joseph

Cady Stanton 

Sojuorner Truth

Abe Lincoln

Israel Zangwell

Statue of Liberty – (Miss Liberty)

John F. Kennedy

Neil Armstrong

Winston Churchill

Barrack Obama

American’s Creed by W.T. Page

United States History In Song and Rhyme

Part 1

Opening Song by Chorus: “America” (My Country ’Tis of Thee)

Narrator:                              Welcome to our play

We promise you will enjoy your stay.

We will present U.S. History in Song and Rhyme.

We assure you it will not be a waste of your time.

In 1492,

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Like the Vikings, he crossed the Atlantic,

But not to raid.

He was looking for treasures,

For which he could trade.

“Westward to Asia!” he told the King he would go.

About America, he did not know.

As men explored this new world,

Searching for gold to be more specific;

Balboa traveled across Panama,

And discovered the Pacific.

Magellan found a way around America in 1519:

Then sailed on westward with a crew that became very lean.

After three long years of westward travel,

He proved to all,

That off the earth man would not fall.

Now men knew that on such trips their ships would not leak,

For the next 100 years, for land and treasure they continued to seek.

In 1607, Englishmen came to Jamestown,

And there a colony they did found.

When it looked like this colony would be a wreck,

The growing of tobacco saved their neck.

In 1620, the Pilgrims said to the King,

“If to America you let us go, 

In our chosen religion we can grow.

With the King’s religion many others disagreed.

They also realized America would fill their need.

                          People came to America searching for a faith,

on which they could lean,

Until the number of colonies became thirteen.

Chorus Sings: “Here We Are but Straying Pilgrims.”

Narrator:           In 1765, the King stabbed the colonists in the backs,                             (pockets that is), and all the colonies he began to tax.

                            The Boston Tea Party aroused the nation.

They began to shout,

Chorus shouts 3 times:      “No Taxation Without Representation.”

Still the King heeded not their plea,

So the Patriots began to sing,

“Revolutionary Tea.”

Chorus Sings: “Revolutionary Tea.”

Narrator:                 Listen my children and you shall hear,

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

On this famous ride,

He called the minutemen to his side.

Actor – Paul Revere:         The British are coming!

The British are coming!

Rise and shine!

The British are coming!

Narrator:                    The next day the British intended to stop

This Revolutionary whirl,

But someone fired, “The shot heard around the world.”

(Sound Effects: Pop a big balloon.)

Patrick Henry gave the Patriots their rallying cry,

When he said he would rather die,

Actor – Patrick Henry speaks center stage:

If this be treason, 

Make the most of it,

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet,

 As to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

Forbid it, Almighty God! 

I know not what course others may take; BUT AS FOR ME,


Chorus shouts 3 times: “GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!”

Narrator:                               On July 4th, 1776,

The Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson wrote;

Then they sent the King

This inflammatory note.

Actor – Thomas Jefferson speaks/writes center stage:


When, in the course of human events, 

it becomes necessary for one people

 to dissolve the political bands 

which have connected them with another,

 and to assume among the powers of the earth,

 the separate and equal station

 to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them,

 a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires

 that they should declare the causes 

which impel them to the separation.

                                             We hold these truths

To be self-evident,

That all men are created equal,

That they are endowed by their Creator

With certain unalienable Rights,

That among these are

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

…And for the support of this Declaration,

With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, 

We mutually pledge to each other 

Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Actor – Ben Franklin speaks center stage: 

“Gentlemen, we must now hang together,

or most assuredly we will ALL HANG SEPARATELY!”

Narrator:                   Now the Patriot army found its pride,

And behind George Washington

They did ride.

Actor – George Washington speaks center stage:

“The time is now near at hand

which must determine

whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves;

whether they are to have any property they can call their own;

whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed,

and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness

from which no human efforts will deliver them.

The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God,

on the courage and conduct of this army.

Our cruel and unrelenting enemy

leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance,

or the most abject submission.

We have, therefore, to resolve,


Narrator:                    Betsy Ross, in her duty did not lag:

She got busy and sewed our first battle flag.

In Philadelphia,

The Liberty Bell did ring

And the Patriot soldiers

Did march and sing.

Chorus Sings: “Yankee Doodle.”

Narrator:                      Our great cause, to France,

Benjamin Franklin so well laid,

That the French agreed to come to our aid.

In 1781, after the victory at Yorktown,

Peace and liberty were finally found.

In order to get freedom right,

The constitution they began to write.

James Madison was the man

With a governing plan,

For his government intuition,

He is called, “The Father of the Constitution.”

Choral Reading by Chorus:  

We the People of the United States,

In Order to form a more perfect Union,

establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,

 provide for the common Defense,

promote the general Welfare,

and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,

 do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

G. Washington speaks center stage:

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair;

the rest is in the hands of God.”

Narrator:       Still the people could not see all of freedom’s lights,

So they got busy and added the Bill of Rights.

For the first President, George Washington they did elect,

Because of all his great leadership,

 “Father of Our Country” is the epitaph they did select.

                                        Land to the mighty Mississippi, 

England did cede, 

and the restless Americans were looking for people to lead.

On the western frontier our country began to grow

And men like Daniel Boone, to Kentucky,

Was a-raring to go.

Chorus Sings: “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Narrator:               But Daniel was not the only favorite son,

in Tennessee and Lawrence County,

Davy Crockett was the one. To Read More Please Order The Script

United States History In Song And Rhyme

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