Long before Key's masterpiece became the national anthem, the melody was used in a series of songs honoring George Washington for his birthday, his inauguration and finally a morning piece for his death. Key's word may bring out noble American emotions, but the music was used for some lesser causes. Robert Treat Paine was paid a handsome $750 for his words in "Adams and Liberty" adapted to the tune. It was to promoted the candidacy of that sturdy Federalist, John Adams.
The initial era in patriotic music depicted the young nation as a near-perfect land. One popular song written in 1815 was simply called, "Peace." It was typical of dozens of other self-congratulatory hymns: