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What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life by Marc Leepson

Marc Leepson

On July 2 at noon, Marc Leepson delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life.”

What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A LifeJust about every American knows the name Francis Scott Key, but very few know anything more about him other than the fact that he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But there was much more to Francis Scott Key. One of the most famous, admired, and accomplished men in the early American Republic, Key was a patriotic, pious, hard-working, and well-connected Washington, D.C., lawyer. He had a thriving private legal practice; argued more than a hundred cases before the Supreme Court; and served as U.S. attorney in Washington for eight years. A confidant of President Andrew Jackson, Key was a member of Old Hickory’s kitchen cabinet and handled many sensitive legal matters for the Jackson Administration. Marc Leepson’s new biography, What So Proudly We Hailed, describes in detail how Key found himself in Baltimore Harbor on the night of September 13, 1814. It goes on to recount the other important events of his life, including his role as a founding member and one of the leaders of the American Colonization Society.

Marc Leepson, historian and former staff writer for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, is the author of eight books, including Saving Monticello, Lafayette: Idealist General, and What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life.