The tune for this is thought to go back to the folk songs of medieval Europe. The term "Yankee Doodle" comes from nonsense Dutch, and early versions of this song were in gibberish.
During the American Revolutionary War, this song was used by both British and American forces to mock the other side, with dozens of verses remaining to be chosen from.
American folk song; state song of Rhode Island
"Yankee Doodle" is from Dutch nonsense terms, where "Yankee" eventually applied to American colonials (and later, only New Englanders.)
"Macaroni" was a particular fashion style. The song mocks "uncouth Americans" by supposing they were so naive as to think a simple feather would be enough to create a high fashion statement. "Dandy" is also a fashion term, for men who cared more about their appearance than anything else.
Yankee Doodle came to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it Macaroni.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.
Father and I went down to camp,
Along with Captain Gooding,
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.
And there we saw a thousand men
As rich as Squire David,
And what they wasted every day,
I wish it could be savèd.
The 'lasses they eat every day,
Would keep a house a winter;
They have so much, that I'll be bound,
They eat it when they've a mind to.
And there I see a swamping gun
Large as a log of maple,
Upon a deuced little cart,
A load for father's cattle.
And every time they shoot it off,
It takes a horn of powder,
And makes a noise like father's gun,
Only a nation louder.