The Public Interest

On patriotism

Walter Berns

Spring 1997

PATRIOTISM means love of country and implies a readiness to sacrifice for it, to fight for it, perhaps even to give one’s life for it. In the traditional or Spartan sense, patriots are those who love their country simply because it is their country—because it is “their birthplace and the mansion of their fathers,” as Alexis de Tocqueville put it in his Democracy in America. It is a kind of filial piety. 

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