Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton

About Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)

"Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" is the twentieth song from Act 1 of the musical Hamilton, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, which premiered on Broadway in 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote both the music and lyrics to the song. It recounts the story of the Battle of Yorktown.


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The battle of Yorktown seventeen-eighty-one

Monsieur Hamilton

Monsieur Lafayette

In command where you belong

How you say, no sweat
We're finally on the field
We’ve had quite a run


We get the job done

So what happens if we win?

I go back to France
I bring freedom to my people if I’m given the chance

We’ll be with you when you do

Go lead your men

See you on the other side

‘Til we meet again, let’s go

I am not throwin’ away my shot
I am not throwin’ away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young
Scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwin’ away my shot
I am not throwin’ away my shot

‘Til the world turns upside down

‘Til the world turns upside down

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
This is where it gets me: on my feet
The enemy ahead of me
If this is the end of me, at least I have a friend with me
Weapon in my hand, a command, and my men with me
Then I remember my Eliza’s expecting me
Not only that, my Eliza’s expecting
We gotta go, gotta get the job done
Gotta start a new nation, gotta meet my son
Take the bullets out your gun (what?)

The bullets out your gun (what?)

We move under cover and we move as one
Through the night, we have one shot to live another day
We cannot let a stray gunshot give us away
We will fight up close, seize the moment and stay in it
It’s either that or meet the business end of a bayonet
The code word is ‘Rochambeau,’ dig me?


You have your orders now, go, man, go
And so the American experiment begins
With my friends all scattered to the winds
Laurens is in South Carolina, redefining brav’ry

We’ll never be free until we end slavery

When we finally drive the British away
Lafayette is there waiting

In Chesapeake Bay

How did we know that this plan would work?
We had a spy on the inside
That’s right

Hercules Mulligan

A tailor spyin’ on the British government
I take their measurements, information and then I smuggle it (up)

To my brother's revolutionary covenant
I’m runnin’ with the Sons of Liberty and I am lovin’ it
See, that’s what happens when you up against the ruffians
We in the shit now, somebody gotta shovel it
Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction
When you knock me down I get the f*ck back up again

Left, right, hold

After a week of fighting, a young man in a red coat stands on a parapet

We lower our guns as he frantically waves a white handkerchief

And just like that, it’s over
We tend to our wounded, we count our dead

Black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom

Not yet

We negotiate the terms of surrender
I see George Washington smile
We escort their men out of Yorktown
They stagger home single file
Tens of thousands of people flood the streets
There are screams and church bells ringing
And as our fallen foes retreat
I hear the drinking song they’re singing

The world turned upside down

The world turned upside down
The world turned upside down
The world turned upside down
Down, down, down

Freedom for America, freedom for France

Down, down, down

Gotta start a new nation
Gotta meet my son

Down, down, down

We won

We won

We won

We won

The world turned upside down

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Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda (; born January 16, 1980) is a Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, playwright, rapper, and actor best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton. He co-wrote the songs for Walt Disney Animation Studios' Moana soundtrack (2016) and co-starred in the film Mary Poppins Returns. Miranda's awards include a Pulitzer Prize, three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, three Tony Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Miranda was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor in 2018. Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for the musical In the Heights, which premiered on Broadway in 2008. For this work, he won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Original Score, the show's cast album won the 2009 Grammy Award… more »

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Written by: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

12 facts about this song

Historical Influence
The song "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" is heavily inspired by the historical event of the Battle of Yorktown. This was the final major battle of the American Revolutionary War, which completed the American victory over the British.
Track Position
It is the 20th song in the first act of the critically acclaimed Broadway musical, "Hamilton," which was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Song Length
The duration of the song is approximately 4 minutes and 4 seconds, making it one of the longer songs in the "Hamilton" musical.
Narrative Role
The story of the song focuses on Alexander Hamilton’s military engagement and leadership during the Battle of Yorktown. It narrates the decisive victory which leads to American Independence.
Musical Style
Despite being set during the American Revolutionary War, the song incorporates modern musical elements including hip-hop, R&B, and rap, indicative of the general fusion of styles that "Hamilton" is renowned for.
The song includes performances from other cast members, including Christopher Jackson (George Washington), Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette), and Anthony Ramos (John Laurens).
Historical Accuracy
The title of the song is a reference to a (possibly apocryphal) song British troops are said to have played after their surrender at Yorktown, aptly named "The World Turned Upside Down."
Emotional Impact
The song culminates in an emotional high point, with the cast celebrating their victory and newfound freedom, and Hamilton reflecting on his fallen comrades.
Critical Acclaim
Like the rest of the musical, "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" was well-received by critics and audiences alike. It was praised for its narrative depth and bold blending of historical events with modern music genres.
Creative Process
Lin-Manuel Miranda, when creating this song, said he read multiple books on the Battle of Yorktown to ensure he was being as historically accurate as possible.
Award Performance
The "Hamilton" cast performed "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" at the 70th Tony Awards in 2016, where the musical won 11 awards out of a record-setting 16 nominations.
The story of the Battle of Yorktown and its presentation in the song inspired multiple in-depth discussions about the real event and also helped to popularize the story among younger audiences.

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