A protest song is a song intended to protest perceived problems in society which can include injustice, racial discrimination, war, globalization, inflation, social inequalities and so on. Protest songs are generally associated with folk music, but in recent times they have come from all genres of music, including punk rock and hip hop. Such songs become popular during times of social disruption and among social groups and their supporters.
Folk protest songs occur throughout history, as in the American Revolutionary War and in the abolitionist movement of the 19th century. During the American Civil War, traditional songs such as "We Shall Overcome" served as protest songs.
In the 20th century, the union movement, the Great Depression the Vietnam War (see Vietnam War protests) and recently, the war in Iraq spawned protest songs. The common form during that time, often with acoustic guitar and harmonica, was popularized by the work of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in the beginning of the 20th Century and continued into the middle of the century by Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan.
 See also
For examples of many different types of protest songs, see List of protest songs.