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Placing one's hand over their heart during the national anthem is an open display of dedication and love for one's country.

Patriotism means love or devotion and duty to one's country or homeland, including the values of that country.[1] The word patriot comes from Latin; the root is the same as that of "father": pater; also French patrie.

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."[2] 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."[3] 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."[4]

However, liberals are the most likely to lack patriotism.[5] A 2019 WalletHub survey[6] (see below) found that the three most unpatriotic states were California, New York and New Jersey. These are left-wing states with "Democrat trifectas"—Democratic control of the Governorship and both houses of the legislature.[7]

Some liberal politicians have made explicitly unpatriotic comments in public,[8] and they have even criticized patriotic designs on police cars for not being "inclusive" enough or "representing" of them.[9][10] Liberals also frequently, and falsely, claim that patriotism is synonymous with racism.[11] Liberals also have promoted unpatriotism in public schools.[12]

Patriotism is effectively synonymous with nationalism, though Marxists, communists, and globalists all have tried to redefine the terms as opposites.[13] While globalists sometimes claim otherwise, globalism stands in opposition to patriotism.[14]

The Barna Group poll on American patriotism

Flag of the United States

According to a 2017 Barna Group poll, between 70–90% of Americans agreed with six different aspects of American patriotism analyzed.[15]

They are:

  • Individual rights come with personal responsibilities;
  • Proud to be an American;
  • Believe in and obey the Constitution;
  • Committed to carrying out your individual civic duty;
  • Willing to die to protect our freedoms; and
  • Defending and living by the rules and ways of life described in the Constitution, whether you agree with them or not.

The article said that the survey "revealed much that remains positive, especially among the younger generation", and described the results as "heartening".

The Wallethub Poll

A 2019 WalletHub survey examined patriotism in detail on a state-by-state level.[6]

There were 13 criteria in the survey, listed below. The first four are considered "Military Engagement", and the other 9 are considered "Civic Engagement".

  • Average Military Enlistees per 1,000 Civilian Adults Between 2012 & 2017 (No Prior Service)
  • Veterans per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • Active-Duty Military Personnel per 100,000 Civilian Adults
  • Share of Civilian Adult Population in Military Reserves
  • Share of Adults Who Voted in 2016 Presidential Election
  • Share of Adults Who Voted in 2016 Primary Elections
  • Volunteer Rate
  • Volunteer Hours per Resident
  • AmeriCorps Volunteers per Capita
  • Peace Corps Volunteers per Capita
  • Trial- & Grand-Jury Participation per Civilian Adult Population
  • Share of Residents Who Participate in Groups or Organizations (Civic Life)
  • Civics Education Requirement

The study also correlated the results with the states' political leanings ("red" vs. "blue"), as determined by the results of the 2016 Presidential election. It found the "red" states are generally more patriotic than "blue" states.

According to the metrics listed above, the top 6 most patriotic states, starting with the most patriotic, were New Hampshire, Wyoming, Vermont, Utah, Idaho, and Wisconsin. Of these, five have Republican Governors and one has a Democratic Governor. Four have Republican-controlled legislatures and two have Democrat-controlled legislatures.

The 6 least patriotic states, starting with the least patriotic, were New Jersey, New York, California, West Virginia, Texas, and Connecticut. Of these, two have Republican Governors and four have Democratic Governors. Two have Republican-controlled legislatures and four have Democrat-controlled legislatures.

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 labeled "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

"Give me liberty, or give me death!" - Patrick Henry[16]

See also

External links


  1. Kirsch, Adam (October 18, 2019). American Patriotism Is Worth Fighting For. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  2. Horace, Odes (iii 2.13)
  3. Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
  4. Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est
  5. Multiple references: See also:
  6. 6.0 6.1 Adam McCann 2019’s Most Patriotic States in America Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  7. Rodriguez, Katherine (June 26, 2019). Study: 3 Least-Patriotic States Run by Democrats. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  8. Shaw, Adam (August 18, 2018). Top 2020 Democrats under fire for 'collective bashing of America' after Cuomo gaffe. Fox News. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. Huston, Warner Todd (April 14, 2019). Patriotic Red, White, and Blue Police Car Lettering Sparks Backlash in California. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  10. Ernst, Douglas (April 15, 2019). Patriotic police vehicles too 'aggressive' for Laguna Beach critics; city council to hold vote. The Washington Times. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  11. Fajardo, Hector (July 6, 2019). Patriotism Is Not Racism. Human Events. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  12. Newman, Alex (October 20, 2019). Schools Are Brainwashing Kids to Hate America Through “Ethnic Studies” Curricula. The New American. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  13. Gregor, A. James (November 18, 2018). Gregor: The False Dichotomy of Nationalism Versus Patriotism. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  14. Wright, Morgan (November 28, 2018). High tech’s globalism is slowly killing patriotism. The Hill. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  15. Adelmann, Bob (December 26, 2017). Heartening Results From Latest Poll on Patriotism. The New American. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  16. Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death" Speech