I"m a Good Ol" Rebel

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The Confederacy"s flag at the end of the American Civil War

"I"m a Good Ol" Rebel", also called "The Good Old Rebel", is a pro-Confederate folk song and rebel song commonly attributed to Major James Innes Randolph. It was initially created by Randolph as a poem before evolving into an oral folk song and was only published in definitive written form in 1914.


After the Confederacy"s loss to the U.S. in the American Civil War, "I"m a Good Ol" Rebel" was created as a poem by former Confederate major James Innes Randolph in the 1860s.[1][2] Its music was based upon the Minstrel song "Joe Bowers". It is not known who initially created the music, with a claim in 1864 attributing it to "J.R.T." and an 1866 sheet music copy ironically dedicating it to Thad Stevens.[3]

"I"m a Good Ol" Rebel" was first published as a poem locally in Maryland in 1898 but was published as a song nationwide in the April 4, 1914 edition of Collier"s Weekly.[1][4] The song is anti-American in tone, expressing hatred towards the U.S. and its national symbols such as the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Declaration of Independence. It reflected a view held by some ex-Confederates who were reluctant to accept Reconstruction with the United States and an expression of the bitterness and anger they felt after the Confederacy had lost the American Civil War to the U.S.[5] However, it is speculated that the song did not reflect Randolph"s personal views and was intended "... to illustrate the irreconcilable spirit of the illiterate in some sections", as it had been sung and passed through oral tradition throughout Southern bars.[4]

The published version initially contained only four verses, but individual performers have added their own verses to reflect their own opinions on the United States.[5][3] In 1991, a version was released on the Songs of the Civil War album performed by Hoyt Axton.[6]


The song became known outside the United States. The American-born Consuelo Montagu, Duchess of Manchester, once performed the song uncensored for the future King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales in London. Upon hearing the song, he later requested a repeat performance of "...that fine American song with the cuss words in it."[4][7] In 2011, the band Junto released a parody of the song as an anti-Barack Obama song titled "I"m A Good Ole American".[8]


O I"m a good old rebel,
Now that"s just what I am.
For this "fair land of freedom"
I do not care at all.
I"m glad I fit against it,
I only wish we"d won,
And I don"t want no pardon
For anything I done.

I hates the Constitution,
This great republic too,
I hates the Freedmans" Buro,
In uniforms of blue.
I hates the nasty eagle,
With all his braggs and fuss,
The lyin" thievin" Yankees,
I hates "em wuss and wuss.

I hates the Yankees nation
And everything they do,
I hates the Declaration,
Of Independence, too.
I hates the Declaration-
"Tis dripping with our blood-
I hates their striped banner,
I fit it all I could

I followed old mas" Robert
For four year near about,
Got wounded in three places
And starved at Pint Lookout
I cotch the roomatism
A campin" in the snow,
But I killed a chance o"Yankees
I"d like to kill some mo".

Three hundred thousand Yankees
Is still in Southern dust,
We got three hundred thousand
Before they conquered us.
They died of Southern fever
And Southern steel and shot,
I wish they was three million
Instead of what we got.

I can"t take up my musket
And fight "em now no more,
But I ain"t going to love "em,
Now that is sarten sure,
And I don"t want to pardon
For what I was and am.
I won"t be reconstructed,
And I don"t care a dam.



  1. ^ a b "The Good Old Rebel (Song)". Deaddisc.com. 1914-04-04. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  2. ^ Harter, Eugene C. (1985). The Lost Colony of the Confederacy. Texas A&M University Press. p. 10. ISBN 1585441023. 
  3. ^ a b Wolfe, Charles (1997). Folk Songs of Middle Tennessee: The George Boswell Collection. University of Tennessee Press. p. 95. ISBN 0870499580. 
  4. ^ a b c Lomax, Allan (1934). American Ballads and Folk Songs. Courier Corporation. p. 535. ISBN 0486282767. 
  5. ^ a b Shivers, Frank (1985). Maryland Wits and Baltimore Bards: A Literary History with Notes on Washington Writers. JHU Press. p. 139. ISBN 0801858100. 
  6. ^ the Dirt Band. "Songs of the Civil War". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  7. ^ "O, I"m a Good Old Rebel (Song)". Civilwarhome.com. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  8. ^ Junto (2011-06-08). "I"m a Good Ole American by Junto". Spotify. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  9. ^ "O I"m a good old rebel". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 17 April 2018.