Evolution of the Poem and Its MusicThe original version, which included only four verses (later, it was expanded to eight) was first published in The Congregationalist in 1895, to commemorate Independence Day. Later, she added more verses and revised the lyrics a bit, republishing in the Boston Evening Transcript in 1904. The music that became adapted to the poem was actually composed a decade earlier (1882) by New Jersey composer Samuel Ward. Ward's music and Bates' poem were first published together in 1910. Before that, there were several other melodies to which people sang "America the Beautiful."
A New National Anthem?There has been an ongoing movement since the mid-20th century to make "America the Beautiful" the national anthem, rather than "The Star Spangled Banner," with no success so far. Whereas the latter focuses on wartime imagery, "America the Beautiful" focuses on the physical beauty and breadth of the country, before turning to the trials and tribulations that have been involved with conquering the land:
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in law