Lessons on Patriotism for the Classroom
By Alan Haskvitz, national inservice presenter
Patriotism is defined as loyalty, pride or fervent love of one’s country. Sometimes the definition includes allegiance to its government and institutions. And others wrote about
America’s experiment with government by the people.
“What then is the American, this new man? . . . He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.”
– Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur from Letters from an American Farmer
These new manners included democracy, freedom and the rule of law. And the founding fathers did their best to provide the framework in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Yet they realized these new freedoms required citizens to perform certain duties and to surrender certain rights to vest their government with the powers to function.
Possibly our most basic duty, and a patriotic act in and of itself, is voting. Our government does not just encourage participation; it is the key to our existence as a democracy. As citizens, we have a duty to select our government.
But the responsibility doesn’t end with our vote. It is also our responsibility to form and express opinions about the operation of that government; to participate in the political process. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”
Perhaps Abraham Lincoln described it best in his address to the 166th
Ohio regiment on Aug. 22, 1864.
“I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence: that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright. . . . The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”
Education links are listed here
They include clip art, themes, art actitives, the national patriotic museum, and a collection of good links.