Yankee Doodle

Did you ever wonder what the song Yankee Doodle is about? Well, here is the story. A "Yank" or "Yankee" refers to residents from New England. Eventually, it meant anyone who came from America. The word "doodle" comes from a song which was written before the American Revolution. During the French and Indian War, Americans and British soldiers fought side by side. The British soldiers were not too impressed with their American counterparts, so they called them "doodles." A doodle was a fool or simpleton. The word "macaroni" in the song has nothing to do with pasta. A "Macaroni" was a fancy ("dandy") style of dress for rich men from England. As you can see in the pictures, they were not very masculine looking. So when the Americans were called Yankee Doodles they were being called girly fools. Not exactly a complement. The Yanks took this insult and made it their own. So by just sticking a feather in his cap and calling himself a "Macaroni," Yankee Doodle was proudly proclaiming himself to be a country simpleton, because that was how the English regarded most colonials at that time anyway. By 1776, Yankee Doodle was the most popular song in America.

Loyalist newspaper cartoon from Boston 1776 ridicules "Yankie Doodles" militia who have encircled the city

 

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Gooding
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

There was Captain Washington
Upon a slapping stallion
A-giving orders to his men
I guess there was a million.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.