It is through this only [the Union] that we are, or can be nationally known in the world; it is the flag of the United States which renders our ships and commerce safe on the seas, or in a foreign port. . . In short, we have no other national sovereignty than as the United States. It would be fatal for us if we had -- too expensive to be maintained, and impossible to be supported.
THOMAS PAINE, 1783
WHOEVER SEEKS THE BEGINNINGS of American patriotism might logically search for them in that Europe which men and women left in search of adventure, riches, freedom, and a new home more to their liking. In spite of all the ills and shortcomings of life in warridden and impoverished Europe, people cherished a feeling of kinship for the land of their birth. Its familiar associations, both sad and merry, were part and parcel of their make-up. Thus patriotism was one of the sundry values that Europeans brought along with their household treasures, their habits of speech, their religious views. Moreover, men and women in boldly leaving the old home carried in their hearts, dimly or vividly, dreams of a new country where life promised some day to be better. Such hopes, and such ardent faith, generated in the old countries, were the seeds of American patriotism.
Yet the beginnings of patriotism that is really American must be sought in America itself. The growth of loyalty was slow and unconscious. In the colonial period one can discern the same broad patterns in the growth of loyalty that appear in later stages of our history -- such as the widening of attachment to a smaller area to include larger and larger units; the pride in natural beauty; the belief in a unique destiny; and the idea of a divinely chosen people.
Provincial self-consciousness was at first confined to a particular