Key, Francis Scott

Key, Francis Scott

(kē), 1779–1843, American poet, author of the Star-spangled BannerStar-spangled Banner, The,
American national anthem, beginning, "O say can you see by the dawn's early light." The words were written by Francis Scott Key, a young Washington attorney who during the War of 1812 sailed to the British fleet to obtain the release of a captured
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, b. present Carroll co., Md. A lawyer, he was U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia (1833–41). His works include The Power of Literature and Its Connection with Religion (1834) and the posthumous collection Poems (1857), which contains several hymns.

Key, Francis Scott

(1779–1843) lawyer, poet; born in Carroll County, Md. He began practicing law in 1801 and soon became a successful attorney in Georgetown, D.C. After witnessing the British attack on Fort Henry, Baltimore, in 1814—while being held in custody by the British on a boat offshore—he wrote a set of verses describing the event. Wildly popular, his lines were matched to an English tavern tune to create "The Star Spangled Banner," the unofficial national anthem until Congress formally adopted it in 1931. Key, who wrote little other poetry of note, was U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1833–41.
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