What So Proudly We Hailed: The Life of Francis Scott Key with Marc Leepson - Context Travel

What So Proudly We Hailed: The Life of Francis Scott Key with Marc Leepson


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Just about every American knows one thing about Francis Scott Key: that he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner.” This look at Key's life reveals much more about the prominent Washington, D.C. lawyer who argued more than 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, was U.S. Attorney in the nation's capital for eight years, and a close legal adviser to President Andrew Jackson.

Francis Scott Key made his mark on American history and culture on the night of September 13-14, when he wrote the words that would become “The Star-Spangled Banner” while witnessing the British attack on Baltimore near the end of the War of 1812. He became an American icon for that unforgettable accomplishment. The seminar will recount the extraordinary events that led to the writing of the National Anthem. You will learn how the young Washington lawyer found himself in Baltimore Harbor that night and the mysterious circumstances surrounding how the poem he wrote morphed into the National Anthem.

There was much more to Francis Scott Key than those memorable words he wrote when he was 25 years old. The seminar will cover Key’s pivotal role in forming the American Colonization Society and his decades-long fervent support for that controversial endeavor that sent free blacks to Africa, as well as his adamant opposition to slave trafficking and his willingness to represent slaves and freedmen and women in Washington's courts. You’ll also learn about his role as a confidant of President Andrew Jackson, his work in Jackson's "kitchen cabinet,” as well as Key’s controversial actions as U.S. Attorney during the first race riot in Washington, D.C., in 1835

Led by historian, journalist, and author Marc Leepson, the author of "What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life," this interactive seminar will look at all the facets of the famed American’s life. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of Francis Scott Key, the National Anthem, and the Early American Republic.

Marc Leepson is the author of nine books, including Saving Monticello; a history of Thomas Jefferson’s “Essay in Architecture;” Flag: An American Biography, Lafayette: Idealist General, a concise biography of the Marquis de Lafayette; and What So Proudly We Hailed, a biography of Francis Scott Key. He taught U.S. History at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton, Virginia, from 2007-2015. A former staff writer at Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., his feature articles, essays, and book reviews have appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Smithsonian, Publishers Weekly, Preservation, and Civil War Times. He has given scores of talks on his books and been interviewed many times on radio and television, including on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Discovery Channel, The History Channel, History Detectives, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, To The Point, Morning Edition, The Diane Rehm Show, The BBC NewsHour, Irish Radio, and CBC (Canada), and has written entries for the Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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