“Slavery is a Hard Foe to Battle” by the Hutchinson Family Singers:
…updates Dan Emmett‘s “Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel” for an abolitionist audience and more:
I looked to the South and I looked to the West,
I saw old Slavery a coming,
With four Northern dough faces hitched up in front
Driving Freedom to the other side of Jordan.
The term “Dough faces” refers to Northern Democrats aligned politically with pro-slavery southern politicians; their shaved, white faces providing the ultimate symbol of naked pliability. (Or were they “does”, to be hunted & collected by slavery’s advocates?) The most prominent dough face at the time would have been NH’s own President Franklin Pierce.
The final verse is notable, too:
But the day is drawing nigh the Slavery must die,
And every one must do his part accordin’:
Then let us all unite to give every man his right (and women too!)
And we’ll get our pay the other side of Jordan.
The mid-century struggle against slavery led many women to draw connections between their lot and the lot of the slaves in a society dominated by white males; indeed, after Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were refused seats at an abolitionist convention in 1840, they organized a women’s rights convention of their own! Several other prominent female abolitionists went on to become advocates and organizers in the women’s rights movement. Here, the Hutchinson family gives them a shout-out in 1855!