In this unique and readable study, Jon Finson views the mores and values of nineteenth-century Americans as they appear in their popular songs. The author sets forth lyricists' and composers' notions of courtship, technology, death, African Americans, Native Americans, and European ethnicity by grouping songs topically. He goes on to explore the interaction between musical style and lyrics within each topic. The lyrics and changing musical styles present a vivid portrait of nineteenth-century America. The composers discussed in the book range from Henry Russell ("Woodman, Spare That Tree"), Stephen Foster ("Oh! Susanna"), and Dan Emmett ("I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land"), to George M. Cohan and Maude Nugent ("Sweet Rosie O'Grady"), and Gussie Lord Davis ("In the Baggage Coach Ahead"). Readers will recognize songs like "Pop Goes the Weasel," "The Yellow Rose of Texas," "The Fountain in the Park," "After the Ball," "A Bicycle Built for Two," and many others which gain significance by being placed in the larger context of American history.