The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend -them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil, and danger, and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter, we are in most danger at present. Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former for the sake of the latter. Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times more than ever calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that "if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom!" It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event!
Samuel Adams, written as "Candidus" in The te (14 October 1771), later published in The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (1865) by William R. Vincent Wells, p. 425.
Who would not be that youth? What pity is it
That we can die but once to save our country!
To be a good patriot, a man must consider his countrymen as God's creatures, and himself as accountable for his acting towards them.
Bishop Berkeley, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 442.
Patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first.
If modern youth has realized, as I believe it has, that to live for one's country is a finer type of patriotism than to die for it, then the youth of my generation will not, after all, have laid down the best of its life in vain.
Vera Brittain, "Youth and War", 13 December 1934. Quoted in Paul Berry and Mark Bostridge, Vera Brittain: A Life. Chatto and Windus, 1995. (p. 305).
The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone!
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Volume III, p. 331.
“My country, right or wrong”, is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober”.
The Nation has need of all that can be contributed to it through the best efforts of all its citizens. The colored people have repeatedly proved their devotion to the high ideals of our country. They gave their services in the war with the same patriotism and readiness that other citizens did. The records of the selective draft show that somewhat more than 2,250,000 colored men were registered. The records further prove that, far from seeking to avoid participation in the national defense, they showed that they wished to enlist before the selective service act was put into operation, and they did not attempt to evade that act afterwards.
The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country. Among well-nigh 400,000 colored men who were taken into the military service, about one-half had overseas experience. They came home with many decorations and their conduct repeatedly won high commendation from both American and European commanders.
America now is stumbling through the darkness of hatred and divisiveness. Our values, our principles, and our determination to succeed as a free and democratic people will give us a torch to light the way. And we will survive and become the stronger—not only because of a patriotism that stands for love of country, but a patriotism that stands for love of people.
Gerald R. Ford, address to the state conference of the Order of DeMolay, Grand Rapids, Michigan (September 7, 1968); in Michael V. Doyle, ed., Gerald R. Ford, Selected Speeches (1973), p. 77.
Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. "Patriotism" is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by "patriotism" I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one's own nation, which is the concern with the nation's spiritual as much as with its material welfare—never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.
There are two Americas. One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.
If you think in terms of people divided up into countries, you won't follow me. The idea of countries is going by the boards. Young people are getting wonderfully uprooted and they're too strong to get sucked into this 'country' crap.
It should be the work of a genuine and noble patriotism to raise the life of the nation to the level of its privileges; to harmonize its general practice with its abstract principles; to reduce to actual facts the ideals of its institutions; to elevate instruction into knowledge; to deepen knowledge into wisdom; to render knowledge and wisdom complete in righteousness; and to make the love of country perfect in the love of man.
Henry Giles, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 442.
Conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. … Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.
We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations. Such is the logic of patriotism.
Leo Tolstoy … defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers.
Emma Goldman in a speech titled What is patriotism? delivered in 1908.
The difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility, but the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to war.
I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
Nathan Hale, last words before being hanged by the British as a spy, (September 22, 1776), according to the account by William Hull based on reports by British Captain John Montresor who was present and who spoke to Hull under a flag of truce the next day:
‘On the morning of his execution,’ continued the officer, ‘my station was near the fatal spot, and I requested the Provost Marshal to permit the prisoner to sit in my marquee, while he was making the necessary preparations. Captain Hale entered: he was calm, and bore himself with gentle dignity, in the consciousness of rectitude and high intentions. He asked for writing materials, which I furnished him: he wrote two letters, one to his mother and one to a brother officer.’ He was shortly after summoned to the gallows. But a few persons were around him, yet his characteristic dying words were remembered. He said, ‘I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country.’
Some speculation exists that Hale might have been repeating or paraphrasing lines from Joseph Addison's play Cato, Act IV, Scene IV:
How beautiful is death when earned by virtue. Who would not be that youth? What pity is it that we can die but once to serve our country.
See George Dudley Seymour, Captain Nathan Hale, Major John Palsgrave Wyllys, A Digressive History, (1933), p. 39.
Another early variant of his last words exists, as reported in the Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser (17 May 1781):
I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged, that my only regret is, that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service.
The most noble fate a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war's desolation.
Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace! But there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
I hate patriotism. I can’t stand it, man — makes me fuckin’ sick. It’s a round world last time I checked.
I was over in Australia, and everyone's like: "Are you proud to be an American?" And I was like, "Um, I don't know, I didn't have a lot to do with it. You know, my parents fucked there, that's about all."- Bill Hicks
The Protestant way of reconciling the commandments of Christ with those human activities that appealed to them was to declare any reconciliation to be impossible. … We must love our enemies. But whether this means burning the heretic and the witch, sending children to work before they can read, making bombs and blessing them, or whether it means the opposite, each believer has to decide for himself without even suspecting what the true will of God might be. A guiding light, though a deceptive one, is provided by the interest of the fatherland, of which there is little mention in the Gospels. In the last few centuries, an incomparably greater number of believers have staked their lives for their country than for the forbidden love of its enemies. The idealists from Fichte to Hegel have also taken an active part in this development. In Europe, faith in God has now become faith in one’s own people. The motto, “Right or wrong, my country,” together with the tolerance of other religions with similar views, takes us back into that ancient world from which the primitive Christians had turned away.
Max Horkheimer, “Theism and Atheism” (1963), in Critique of Instrumental Reason (1974).
I have written for all, with a profound love for my own country, but without being engrossed by France more than by any other nation. In proportion as I advance in life, I grow more simple, and I become more and more patriotic for humanity.
Andrew Jackson, toast at a Jefferson Day dinner (April 13, 1830). Marquis James, Andrew Jackson: Portrait of a President (1937), p. 235. The account by James emphasizes the shocked reaction of Jackson's vice president, John C. Calhoun, to this toast, since it was clear he had lost Jackson's support of the Southern cause of nullification. When Calhoun's turn came, his toast was: "The Union, next to our liberty, most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and by distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union" (pp. 235–36). According to Martin Van Buren, Autobiography (1920, reprinted 1973), vol. 2, p. 415, at the urging of General Hayne, Jackson altered his toast to "Our Federal Union" before it was given to the newspapers, and it was reported in this form in many sources including James Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson (1860), vol. 3, p. 283, and Thomas Hart Benton, Thirty Years View (1854, reprinted 1883), vol. 1, p. 148.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self-interest.
All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war, and to restore the blessings of peace. They should remain, if possible, in the country; promote harmony and good feeling; qualify themselves to vote; and elect to the State and general Legislatures wise and patriotic men, who will devote their abilities to the interests of the country, and the healing of all dissensions. I have invariably recommended this course since the cessation of hostilities, and have endeavored to practice it myself.
Robert E. Lee, in a letter to former Virginia governor John Letcher (28 August 1865), as quoted in Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes, and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee (1875) by John William Jones, p. 203.
True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them — the desire to do right — is precisely the same.
In uniform patriotism can salute one flag only, embrace but the first circle of life—one's own land and tribe. In war that is necessary, in peace it is not enough.
Bill Moyers, "At Large", speech at the Peace Corps twenty-fifth anniversary memorial service (21 September 1986), published in Moyers on Democracy (2008), p. 26.
By 'nationalism'... I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By 'patriotism' I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman
I would sooner receive injustice in the Queen's courts than justice in a foreign court. I hold that man or woman to be a scoundrel who goes abroad to a foreign court to have the judgments of the Queen's courts overturned, the actions of her Government countermanded or the legislation of Parliament struck down.
Enoch Powell, Speech in Ilford (13 March 1982), from Simon Heffer, Like the Roman. The Life of Enoch Powell (Phoenix, 1999), p. 853.
National pride is to countries what self-respect is to individuals: a necessary condition for self-improvement.
Patriotism, when it wants to make itself felt in the domain of learning, is a dirty fellow who should be thrown out of doors.
Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena (1851) Counsels and Maxims Vol. 2, Ch. 21, § 255.
Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw in The World (15 November 1893). Cited in Not Bloody Likely!: And Other Quotations from Bernard Shaw (1996), p. 142
That is a true sentiment which makes us feel that we do not love our country less, but more, because we have laid up in our minds the knowledge of other lands and other institutions and other races, and have had enkindled afresh within us the instinct of a common humanity, and of the universal beneficence of the Creator.
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 442.
What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? … A patriotism that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.
Adlai Stevenson, speech in New York City (27 August 1952), quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1955), Boston: Little, Brown and Co., p. 986.
Patriotism … for rulers is nothing else than a tool for achieving their power-hungry and money-hungry goals, and for the ruled it means renouncing their human dignity, reason, conscience, and slavish submission to those in power. … Patriotism is slavery.
Those attacks upon language and religion in Poland, the Baltic provinces, Alsace, Bohemia, upon the Jews in Russia, in every place that such acts of violence occur—in what name have they been, and are they, perpetrated? In none other than the name of that patriotism which you defend.
Ask our savage Russifiers of Poland and the Baltic provinces, ask the persecutors of the Jews, why they act thus. They will tell you it is in defence of their native religion and language; they will tell you that if they do not act thus, their religion and language will suffer—the Russians will be Polonised, Teutonised, Judaised.
If patriotism is good, then Christianity, which gives peace, is an idle dream, and the sooner this teaching is eradicated, the better. But if Christianity really gives peace, and if we really want peace, then patriotism is a leftover from barbarous times, which must not only not be evoked and taught, as we now do, but which must be eradicated by all means of preaching, persuasion, contempt, and ridicule. If Christianity is the truth, and if we wish to live in peace, then we must not only have no sympathy for the power of our country, but must even rejoice in its weakening and contribute to it.
I have already several times expressed the thought that in our day the feeling of patriotism is an unnatural, irrational, and harmful feeling, and a cause of a great part of the ills from which mankind is suffering, and that, consequently, this feeling – should not be cultivated, as is now being done, but should, on the contrary, be suppressed and eradicated by all means available to rational men. Yet, strange to say – though it is undeniable that the universal armaments and destructive wars which are ruining the peoples result from that one feeling – all my arguments showing the backwardness, anachronism, and harmfulness of patriotism have been met, and are still met, either by silence, by intentional misinterpretation, or by a strange unvarying reply to the effect that only bad patriotism (Jingoism or Chauvinism) is evil, but that real good patriotism is a very elevated moral feeling, to condemn which is not only irrational but wicked. What this real, good patriotism consists in, we are never told; or, if anything is said about it, instead of explanation we get declamatory, inflated phrases, or, finally, some other conception is substituted for patriotism – something which has nothing in common with the patriotism we all know, and from the results of which we all suffer so severely.
It will be said, "Patriotism has welded mankind into states, and maintains the unity of states." But men are now united in states; that work is done; why now maintain exclusive devotion to one's own state, when this produces terrible evils for all states and nations? For this same patriotism which welded mankind into states is now destroying those same states. If there were but one patriotism say of the English only then it were possible to regard that as conciliatory, or beneficent. But when, as now, there is American patriotism, English, German, French, Russian, all opposed to one another, in this event, patriotism no longer unites, but disunites.
The modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation all the time, loyalty to the government when it deserves it.
Mark Twain, from the essay "The Czar's soliloquy" (1905), cited in The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain by Alex Ayres (1987), p. 176
Gentlemen have talked a great deal of patriotism. A venerable word, when duly practised. But I am sorry to say that of late it has been so much hackneyed about that it is in danger of falling into disgrace. The very idea of true patriotism is lost, and the term has been prostituted to the very worst of purposes.
Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.
George Washington, farewell address (September 19, 1796); in John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (1940), vol. 35, p. 219–20.
Our patriotism comes straight from the Romans. This is why French children are encouraged to seek inspiration for it in Corneille. It is a pagan virtue, if these two words are compatible. The word pagan, when applied to Rome, early possesses the significance charged with horror which the early Christian controversialists gave it. The Romans really were an atheistic and idolatrous people; not idolatrous with regard to images made of stone or bronze, but idolatrous with regard to themselves. It is this idolatry of self which they have bequeathed to us in the form of patriotism.
"Every national border in Europe," El Eswad added ironically, "marks the place where two gangs of bandits got too exhausted to kill each other anymore and signed a treaty. Patriotism is the delusion that one of these gangs of bandits is better than all the others."
Robert Anton Wilson, The Earth Will Shake: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Vol. 1) (1982).
Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of the government. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.
Woodrow Wilson, Speech at New York Press Club (9 September 1912), in The papers of Woodrow Wilson, 25:124.
Patriotism is the vice of nations.
Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young (1894).
What is patriotism but love of the good things we ate in our childhood?
Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living (1937) Ch. IV : On Having A Stomach
If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, nor as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one's country, one's fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles
Howard Zinn, Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1991).
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 584-87.
The die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon. Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination.
John Adams, Works, Volume IV, p. 8. In a conversation with Jonathan Sewell (1774). (Peele in Edward I [1584?] used the phrase "Live or die, sink or swim.").
Our ships were British oak,
And hearts of oak our men.
From distant climes, o'er wide-spread seas we come,
Though not with much éclat or beat of drum;
True patriots all; for be it understood
We left our country for our country's good.
No private views disgraced our generous zeal,
What urged our travels was our country's weal.
George Barrington, prologue for the Opening of the Playhouse at Sydney, New South Wales, Jan. 16, 1796. Dr. Young's Revenge was played by convicts.
Be Briton still to Britain true,
Among oursel's united;
For never but by British hands
Maun British wrangs be righted.
I hope to find my country in the right: however I will stand by her, right or wrong.
John J. Crittenden, in Congress, when President Polk sent a message after the defeat of the Mexican General Arista by General Taylor. May, 1846.
Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
Stephen Decatur, toast given at Norfolk, April, 1816. See Mackenzie's Life of Stephen Decatur, Chapter XIV.
I wish I was in de land ob cotton,
Ole times dar am not forgotten,
Look-a-way! Look-a-way! Look-a-way, Dixie Land!
* * * * *
Den I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie Land I'll take my stand
To lib and die in Dixie.
Daniel D. Emmett, Dixie Land. See account in Century, Aug., 1887. A Southern version was written by Albert Pike.
'Twas for the good of my country that I should be abroad. Anything for the good of one's country—I'm a Roman for that.
And have they fixed the where, and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's thirty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!
Robert Stephen Hawker, Song of the Western Men. Mr. Hawker asserts that he wrote the ballad in 1825, all save the chorus and the last two lines, which since the imprisonment by James II, 1688, of the seven Bishops, have been popular throughout Cornwall. (Trelawny was Bishop of Bristol.) First appearance in the Royal Devonport Telegram and Plymouth Chronicle, Sept. 2, 1826. Story of the ballad in Macaulay's History of England. Footnote for Hawker.
He serves his party best who serves the country best.
Juvenal, Satire VIII, 244. Title bestowed on Cicero (B.C. 64) after his consulship, "a mark of distinction which none ever gained before." Plutarch—Life of Cicero. Pliny, Book VII, calls Cicero "Parens patriæ." Title conferred on Peter the Great by the Russian Senate. (1721). See Post-Boy, Dec. 28–30, 1721. Also applied to Augustus Cæsar and Marius.
Je meurs content, je meurs pour la liberté de mon pays.
I die content, I die for the liberty of my country.
Attributed to Le Pelletier, also to Marshal Lannes.
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Is it an offence, is it a mistake, is it a crime to take a hopeful view of the prospects of your own country? Why should it be? Why should patriotism and pessimism be identical? Hope is the mainspring of patriotism.
Our spirit is … to show ourselves eager to work for, and if need be, to die for the Irish Republic. Facing our enemy we must declare an attitude simply…. We ask for no mercy and we will make no compromise.
Terence McSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork. From a document in his possession when he was sentenced, in August, 1920.
Vox diversa sonat: populorum est vox tamen una,
Cum verus PATRIÆ diceris esse PATER.
There are many different voices and languages; but there is but one voice of the peoples when you are declared to be the true "Father of your country."
We, that would be known
The father of our people, in our study
And vigilance for their safety, must, not change
Their ploughshares into swords, and force them from
The secure shade of their own vines, to be
Scorched with the flames of war.
They know no country, own no lord,
Their home the camp, their law the sword.
Free rendering of passage in Silvio Pellico's Enfernio de Messina, Act V, scene 2.
Millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute.
Attributed to Charles C. Pinckney when Ambassador to the French Republic (1796). Denied by him. Said to have been "Not a penny—not a sixpence." Attributed also to Robert Goodloe Harper, of South Carolina. "I have ten thousand for defense, but none to surrender; if you want our weapons, come and get them." The response of an ancient General.
If I were an American, as I am on Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms, never! never! never!
Attributed to George Washington. The only basis for this order seems to be found in Washington's circular letter to regimental commanders, dated April 30, 1777, regarding recruits for his body guard. "You will therefore send me none but natives." A few months before, Thomas Hickey, a deserter from the British army, had tried to poison Washington, had been convicted and hanged.
Hands across the sea,
Feet on English ground,
The old blood is bold blood, the wide world round.
The lines of red are lines of blood, nobly and unselfishly shed by men who loved the liberty of their fellowmen more than they loved their own lives and fortunes. God forbid that we should have to use the blood of America to freshen the color of the flag. But if it should ever be necessary, that flag will be colored once more, and in being colored will be glorified and purified.
Our country—whether bounded by the St. John's and the Sabine, or however otherwise bounded or described, and be the measurements more or less;—still our country, to be cherished in all our hearts, and to be defended by all our hands.
Robert C. Winthrop, toast at Faneuil Hall (July 4, 1845). "Our country, however bounded." Toast founded on the speech of Winthrop.
There are no points of the compass on the chart of true patriotism.
Our land is the dearer for our sacrifices. The blood of our martyrs sanctifies and enriches it. Their spirit passes into thousands of hearts. How costly is the progress of the race. It is only by the giving of life that we can have life.
Rev. E. J. Young, Lesson of the Hour, in Magazine of History, Extra. No. 43. Originally pub. in Monthly Religious Mag., Boston (May, 1865).
America is the crucible of God. It is the melting pot where all the races are fusing and reforming … these are the fires of God you've come to…. Into the crucible with you all. God is making the American.
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
We would rather starve than sell our national honor.
Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India, remark at election meeting in Nagpur, India, as reported by The New York Times, January 23, 1967, p. 1. India had accepted trade restrictions with North Vietnam and Cuba to get grain from the United States. Prime Minister Gandhi said this did not compromise the country's honor because India had not been trading with North Vietnam, and her trade with Cuba was limited to the selling of jute products, which was not objected to by the United States.
With earnest prayers to all my friends to cherish mutual good will, to promote harmony and conciliation, and above all things to let the love of our country soar above all minor passions, I tender you the assurance of my affectionate esteem and respect.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Hollins (May 5, 1811); in Andrew A. Lipscomb, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 13 (1903), p. 58–59.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Life of Johnson, entry for Friday, April 7, 1775, p. 615 (1970). "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first". Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, at entry for patriotism, The Collected Writings of Ambrose Bierce, p. 323 (1946, reprinted 1973). H. L. Mencken added this to Johnson's dictum: "But there is something even worse: it is the first, last, and middle range of fools". The World, New York City, November 7, 1926, p. 3E
True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them—the desire to do right—is precisely the same.
Robert E. Lee, letter to General P. G. T. Beauregard, October 3, 1865. John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee, Soldier and Man, p. 390 (1906).
Intellectually I know America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country.
Sinclair Lewis, radio interview in Berlin, Germany, December 29, 1930, as reported by The New York Times, December 30, 1930, p. 5.
Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.
H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 30, p. 616 (1949).
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
Sir Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, ed. Margaret A. Allen, canto sixth, 1, lines 1–6, p. 123 (1915).
I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility which will enable America to remain master of her power—to walk with it in serenity and wisdom, with self-respect and the respect of all mankind; a patriotism that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. These are words that are easy to utter, but this is a mighty assignment. For it is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.
Adlai Stevenson, Governor of Illinois, speech to the American Legion convention, New York City, August 27, 1952. Speeches of Adlai Stevenson, p. 81 (1952).
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.
Author unknown, this is often misattributed to Julius Caesar and William Shakespeare, but the earliest located occurrences of this thus far are from the year 2000.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Misattributed to Abraham Lincoln.