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Patriotism means love or devotion and duty to one's country or homeland.

The word patriot comes from Latin; the root is the same as that of "father": pater.

The Roman poet Horace wrote "Dulce et decorum est pro Patria mori", which means "It is sweet and seemly to die for one's country."[1]

Later, American satirist Ambrose Bierce would write "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."[2]

Later still, World War I British infantryman and poet Wilfred Owen would mock Horace's words by describing a soldier dying a particularly gory death on the battlefield, and saying "My friend, you would not tell with such high zest / To children ardent for some desperate glory, / The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori."[3]

Conflicts With Pacifism

In rare cases patriotism has been a source of conflict for Christians in wartime. While their nation may call on them to do their patriotic duty, many Western pacifists believe that New Testament advocates nonviolence.

Many western conservative Christians feel that patriotism does not conflict with Christianity as in their view their countries' political systems are based upon Christian principles. However, this argument is dubious. With the possible exception of Vatican City, no nation can truly be labelled "Christian", and given that people of other religious dispositions are allowed to vote - and these are numerous - it is unreasonable to expect a "Christian" outcome.


  • "In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man and brave — hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him. For then it costs them nothing to be a patriot." – Mark Twain
  • "It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. 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!Patrick Henry, March 23,1775

See Also

External Links


  1. Horace, Odes (iii 2.13)
  2. Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
  3. Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est