Guided Primary Source Analysis: The Carpet-bagger

The Carpet-bagger
Von Rochow, Alfred (composer) and Garret, T. E. (lyricist). “The Carpet-bagger.” Balmer & Weber, Saint Louis, 1868. Library of Congress.

Read this brief description of carpetbaggers and scalawags from Next review this Encyclopedia of Virginia entry on Benjamin F. Butler, being sure to read at least the introductory paragraph as well as the first paragraph under the New Orleans header. Now look closely at the cover of this sheet music. Describe the perspective of carpetbaggers that you think this song takes and provide reasons for your conclusion.

If possible, get someone to play the tune then closely read through the lyrics of this song. Write a description of carpetbaggers and scalawags in your own words based on the lyrics. Your description may be in expository or poetic form, including modern-day music lyrics such as pop, hip hop, or rap.

Read an excerpt of an interview with C.S. Bradley, who had grown up in Texas after the Civil War. What was his view of the carpetbaggers? Compose a brief response to this sheet music cover in written or oral form using Bradley’s “voice”.

What other observations, reflections or questions does this source inspire? Let us know!