Patriotism

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Definition

Description

Patriotism is love and devotion to one's country. The word comes from the Greek patris, meaning fatherland. Patriotism, however, has had different meanings over time, and its meaning is highly dependent upon context, geography, and philosophy. Although patriotism is used in certain vernaculars as a synonym for nationalism, nationalism is not necessarily considered an inherent part of patriotism. Among the ancient Greeks, patriotism consisted of notions concerning language, religious traditions, ethics, law, and devotion to the common good, rather than pure identification with a nation-state. Scholar J. Peter Euben writes that for the Greek philosopher Socrates, "patriotism does not require one to agree with everything that his country does and would actually promote analytical questioning in a quest to make the country the best it possibly can be."

In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Rama tells Lakshmana Janani Janma Bhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi (Mother and Motherland are greater than heaven), which greatly lays the foundation for consciousness of patriotism for Hindus.[7]

During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, the notion of patriotism continued to be separate from the notion of nationalism. Instead, patriotism was defined as devotion to humanity and beneficence. For example, providing charity, criticizing slavery, and denouncing excessive penal laws were all considered patriotic. In both ancient and modern visions of patriotism, individual responsibility to fellow citizens is an inherent component of patriotism.

Many contemporary notions of patriotism are influenced by 19th century ideas about nationalism. During the 19th century, "being patriotic" became increasingly conflated with nationalism and even jingoism. However, some notions of contemporary patriotism reject nationalism in favour of a more classic version of the idea of patriotism which includes social responsibility.