I’ve always thought that the best things about America can usually be found embodied in our national music. In fact, as Peter Drier and Richard Flacks observed in a 2002 Nation article, "Most Americans are unaware that much of our patriotic culture–including many of the leading icons and symbols of American identity–was created by artists and writers of decidedly left-wing and even socialist sympathies."

That includes, most decidedly, our music. "A look at the songs sung at post-9/11 patriotic tribute events and that appear on the various patriotic compilation albums, or the clips incorporated into film shorts celebrating the ‘American spirit,’ reveals that the preponderance of these originated in the forgotten tradition of left-wing patriotism."

So, in honor of July 4th, here’s my top twelve list of America’s most patriotic songs (in random order), with accompanying videos. It’s a highly subjective list which could go on and on, so please use the comments field below to cite your own favorites and we can have a happy argument about it.

Power and Glory, Phil Ochs


We Can’t Make It Here Anymore, James McMurtry

Come All Ye Coal Miners, Sarah Ogan Gunning 


This Land is Your Land, Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen (Obama Inauguration Version)


We Almost Lost Detroit, Gil Scott-Heron


The House I Live In, Paul Robeson


Cortez the Killer, Dave Matthews Band with Warren Haynes covering Neil Young


Volunteers, Jefferson Airplane


The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, Christy Moore covering Bob Dylan


500 Miles, Rosanne Cash


A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke


Lawyers, Guns and Money, Warren Zevon