The Power of Song as the Voice of the People

Margaret Bennett

Abstract


There are few political speeches that effectively match the power of a song in keeping alive issues of social justice or freedom. In the seventeenth century, Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun proclaimed: If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation.i As in Fletchers day, there is no telling if a song of protest will bring about change nevertheless, it is still the most powerful tool to give voice to those with enough conviction to take a stand. Of equal importance, songs are our most harmonious and peaceful weapons, effective outside the context of conflict as well as on the picket line or demonstration.

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