Author: Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie, New York World-Telegram, Al Aumuller, 1943, Library of Congress

Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (1912–67) was an American songwriter, folk singer, and radical political activist. He wrote his most famous song, “This Land is Your Land,” in 1940 as an answer to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” Troubled by many scenes of poverty and desolation that he had witnessed on his travels during the Great Depression, Guthrie wrote the song in a populist egalitarian and antiestablishment spirit. This same spirit animated much of his work as he recounted his experiences in the Dust Bowl era, which would earn him the nickname “Dust Bowl Troubadour.” 

This Land Is Your Land

Woody Guthrie

What makes this land your and my land, and how does it belong to us? Compare Woody Guthrie’s populist anthem, written in the midst of the Great Depression, to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”