Don't Tread On Me
Metallica, 1991
Hetfield / Ulrich

A stirring tribute to the Patriots of the American Revolution. The title of this song refers to the early American flag with a picture of a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase "Don't Tread On Me" known as the Gadsden Flag and the Culpeper Flag. In a broader sense the song is about patriotism, liberty, and the willingness to fight and die for what you believe in.

Interestingly, some have suggested that this song may also be interpreted as a cautionary commentary on the dangers of blind patriotism. The introduction of this song ( instrumental ) is an excerpt from the song "I Like To Be In America" from the musical, West Side Story.

Some lyrics of this song have actually been borrowed or adapted from historic speeches and documents of the American Revolution. The line "liberty or death, what we so proudly hail" is a reference to Patrick Henry's famous statement of resistence. The lines, "so be it threaten no more to secure peace is to prepare for war" is adapted from a statement made by George Washington.

Metallica Music and Lyric Resources:

Encyclopedia Metallica

The Metallica Source

Referenced and Related Works:

Patrick Henry's; "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death"

Gadsden Flag

George Washington, Annual Message, December 1793

Twisted Sisters, "We're Not Gonna Take It" / Constructed Response Activity

Thomas Paine's "American Crisis"

I Have A Dream / “The Impossible Dream ( The Quest )” Essay Writing Activity

Constructed Response Activity

Constructed Response Activity

Declaration of Independence  (external page)

Thomas Paine  (external page)

The Thomas Jefferson Papers  (external page)

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress  (external page)

YouTube – “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (external link)

YouTube - “Harder They Come” (external link)


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