Don't Tread On Me
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:
Referenced and Related Works:
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)