Views from the Edge reader Carolyn responded to yesterday’s re-blog of Hold to the Good’s Fourth of July article on the difference between patriotism and nationalism by John Buchanan. Carolyn wrote the following:
True patriot, Senator Carl Schurz of Missouri, in a debate said:
‘The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming ‘My country, right or wrong.’ In one sense I say so too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. Feb. 29, 1872.
Schurz expanded on this theme in a speech delivered at the Anti-Imperialistic Conference, Chicago, Illinois, October 17, 1899: “I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves … too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: ‘Our country, right or wrong!’ They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country—when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”—Schurz, “The Policy of Imperialism,” Speeches, Correspondence and Political Papers of Carl Schurz, vol. 6, pp. 119–20 (1913).
I also like to bear in mind some phrases from verses 2 and 3 of the wonderful patriotic song “America the Beautiful”.
“America! America! / God mend thine every flaw / Confirm thy soul in self-control, / Thy liberty in law!”
“America! America! / May God thy gold refine / Till [‘Til] all success be nobleness / And every gain divine!