Patriotism Quotes

Quotes about Patriotism.

Arranged alphabetically by author.

  • The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.
    o Samuel Adams

  • 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.
    o Ambrose Bierce

  • “My country, right or wrong” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying, except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”
    o Gilbert Keith Chesterton

  • When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
    o Winston Churchill

  • Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.
    o Calvin Coolidge

  • True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.
    o Clarence Darrow

  • Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.
    o Denis Diderot, Observations on the Drawing Up of Laws (written in 1774 for Catherine the Great; published 1921)

  • Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!
    o Albert Einstein

  • He is a poor patriot whose patriotism does not enable him to understand how all men everywhere feel about their altars and their hearthstones, their flag and their fatherland.
    o Harry Emerson Fosdick

  • There are two Americas. One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.
    o J. William Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power (1966)

  • Thinking men and women the world over are beginning to realize that patriotism is too narrow and limited a conception to meet the necessities of our time.
    o Emma Goldman

  • The people are urged to be patriotic … by sacrificing their own children. Patriotism requires allegience to the flag, which means obedience and readiness to kill father, mother, brother, sister.
    o Emma Goldman

  • Conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. […] Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.
    o Emma Goldman, Patriotism: a menace to liberty

  • We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations. Such is the logic of patriotism.
    o Emma Goldman, What is Patriotism? (1908)

  • When we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for the great structure where all shall be united into a universal brotherhood— a truly free society.
    o Emma Goldman

  • Leo Tolstoy […] defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers
    o Emma Goldman in a speech titled What is patriotism? delivered in 1908

  • I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
    o Nathan Hale (last words before being hanged by British.)

  • The most noble fate a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war’s desolation.
    o Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

  • 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!
    o Patrick Henry

  • I hate patriotism! It’s a round world the last time I checked.
    o Bill Hicks

  • The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    o Thomas Jefferson

  • Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
    o Samuel Johnson

  • Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.
    o John F. Kennedy

  • America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
    o Abraham Lincoln

  • By ‘nationalism’… I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.
    o George Orwell, Essay: Notes on Nationalism, 1945

  • These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
    o Thomas Paine

  • I would sooner receive injustice in the Queen’s courts than justice in a foreign court. I hold that man or woman to be a scoundrel who goes abroad to a foreign court to have the judgments of the Queen’s courts overturned, the actions of her Government countermanded or the legislation of parliament struck down.
    o Enoch Powell

  • [The pamphlet] was very patriotic. That is, it talked about killing foreigners.
    o Terry Pratchett, Monstrous Regiment

  • 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. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.
    o Theodore Roosevelt

  • Patriots always talk of dying for their country, and never of killing for their country.
    o Attributed to Bertrand Russell

  • Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.
    o Bertrand Russell

  • To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.
    o George Santayana

  • Men love their country, not because it is great, but because it is their own.
    o Seneca

  • Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
    o George Bernard Shaw

  • What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? … A patriotism that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”
    o Adlai Stevenson, speech given in New York City, 27 August 1952, quoted in John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1955, p. 986

  • Patriotism … for rulers is nothing else than a tool for achieving their power-hungry and money-hungry goals, and for the ruled it means renouncing their human dignity, reason, conscience, and slavish submission to those in power. … Patriotism is slavery.
    o Leo Tolstoy, in his pamphlet Christianity and Patriotism (1894, Russian text is here)

  • The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice — and always has been.
    o Mark Twain

  • In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
    o Mark Twain

  • Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
    o Mark Twain

  • Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.
    o Unknown – sometimes misattributed to Julius Caesar and William Shakespeare

  • Dissent is patriotic.
    o Unknown

  • Gentlemen have talked a great deal of patriotism. A venerable word, when duly practised. But I am sorry to say that of late it has been so much hackneyed about that it is in danger of falling into disgrace. The very idea of true patriotism is lost, and the term has been prostituted to the very worst of purposes.
    o Robert Walpole in a speech given to the House of Commons in 1741.

  • Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I’m not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.
    o John Wayne

  • Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
    o Oscar Wilde

  • What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?
    o Lin Yutang

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