THE PATRIOTISM which we tend to take for granted has a history and a future. But its history has not been written, and its future may be quite different from its past. Our scattered states, united and grown strong, have been a hope for those in all lands who longed for freedom and a democratic world. Whether America will provide an even larger freedom at home, an even stronger hope for the world, depends upon what citizens make of our country -- depends not only upon the strength of our devotion to it, but also upon the character of that devotion. In a democracy blind, unthinking love of country must presumably give way more and more to intelligent and understanding patriotism, if that democracy as such is to survive. That being so, an examination of the sources and nature of American patriotism may be more than an academic exercise; and he who reads it thoughtfully may be helped toward more enlightened citizenship.
What is patriotism? Can one determine even approximately what it has meant at various times, in prosperity and depression, in war and peace, to the same individual in varying situations, to our leading thinkers, to Negroes, to farmers, to the women over the washtub and to the men on the assembly line? Did patriotic propaganda figure in the growth of American unity? How can patriotism be understood in terms of our federal system, with its peculiar set of double loyalties throughout much of our history? How may it be described in relation to the proximate assimilation of newcomers with their strange habits and alien ideas? Will antitheses or alleged antitheses of love of country such as lawbreaking, expatriation, war profiteering, treason itself, illuminate our understanding? This study will be concerned with these and similar questions.
Patriotism, though it has meant many things and been put to