Kate Upson Clark.

Teaching the Child Patriotism online

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Valuable and INSTRUCTIVE
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_A Hand-book of Good Manners_


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_A Complete Manual of American Etiquette_


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_An invaluable aid to parents in training their children_

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_A timely guide for the daily life of mother and child_

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With a Frontispiece by



_Copyright, 1918, by_

_All rights reserved_

First Impression, October, 1918







Let us suppose for a moment that any set of men could
succeed in sweeping away from them all the influences
of past ages. Suppose a race of men whose minds had
been suddenly deadened to every recollection - can we
imagine a condition of such utter confusion and

WE have been lately told by one of our foremost educators that "the
best schools are expressly renouncing the questionable duty of teaching
patriotism by means of history."

To some of us who have brought up children, this startling statement
came like a bomb. If history is to be used, as it certainly is used, in
many of our "best schools," in the teaching of political economy,
sociology, philosophy, psychology, biology, religion and nearly
everything else, why should we not use it also in teaching a child the
value of his own country, how dearly it has been bought, and his duty to
serve it?

When anybody undertakes to prove that a child who hears, for instance
the story of the six "leading citizens" of Calais offering their lives
for the redemption of their city, does not feel a deeper sense of
patriotism after it, he must prove that the children whom most of us
know are exceptional.

See the widening eyes and working features of children listening to a
spirited reading of "Horatius at the Bridge," or "Hervé Riel," or the
story of Nathan Hale.

Your "educator" may say that all this means merely an "emotional spasm."
What is that but interest or enthusiasm? And what is more potent in
moving the will?

Most of our intelligent mothers can testify that there seems to be
nothing which more rouses a child's loving consciousness of his own
land, and more enkindles a desire to do something for it, - even to die
for it - than listening to these fiery old tales of exalted patriotism.

In an eloquent panegyric upon the influence of a knowledge of history,
President Woolley of Mt. Holyoke College says: "It is a circumscribed
life which has no vision into the past, which is familiar only with
present conditions and forms of government, manners, customs and
beliefs. Such a life has no background, no material for comparisons, no
opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others, nor from their

And, in re-inforcement of the contention that much besides general
culture and useful information is gained from the study of the past, and
especially from the study of the classics, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge
during a recent session of the New York Latin Club uttered a strong plea
for the study of Latin and Greek, as an incentive to patriotism.

"It is impossible," he said, in effect, "to read of 'the brave days of
old,' of Marathon and Salamis, of Martius Curtius, Lycurgus and a
hundred others of the heroes of Greece and Rome, without a sense of the
glory of living and dying for one's country. All children should be made
familiar with them, and especially with the ringing lines and sound
patriotism of the Iliad. They not only teach patriotism, but many of the
other higher virtues, and in such an interesting way that children want
to hear the stories over and over. Thus their lessons become indelibly
impressed upon young minds."

But one of the hard truths which should be taught in connection with
these tales of heroism, is the fact that by far the greater number of
splendid sacrifices for one's country are never heard of. Cincinnatus,
Hector, Ajax, Pheidippides, have come to fame, which is generally
considered reward enough for any hardship; but most of the world's
heroes are unknown or forgotten. Every soldier can relate courageous
deeds which he has witnessed but which live only in his memory or in
those of his comrades. In fact, we are told that heroism is so common in
the present war that almost every soldier deserves a medal.

An interesting instance of obscure heroism is quoted by Miss Repplier
from Sir Francis Doyle:

"Dr. Keate, the terrible head-master of Eton, encountered one morning a
small boy crying miserably, and asked him what was the matter. The child
replied that he was cold. 'Cold!' roared Keate. 'You must put up with
cold, sir! You are not at a girls' school.'

"The boy remembered the sharp appeal to manhood; for fifteen years
later, with the Third Dragoons, he charged at the strongly intrenched
Sikhs (thirty thousand of the best fighting men of the Khalsa) on the
curving banks of the Sutlej. And, as the word was given, he turned to
his superior officer, a fellow-Etonian, and chuckled, 'As old Keate
would say, "This is no girls' school,"' and rode to his death on the
battlefield of Sobraon, which gave Lahore to England."

Thus does the true hero lay down his life, cheerfully and unrewarded,
for his country.

The anonymous hero, so numerous and so grand, is well typified also by
Browning's "Echetlos," "The Holder of the Ploughshare." This can be so
read that even children of eight or ten can take it in.

One wishes that a real historical event were commemorated in Browning's
"How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix"; but it has the
heroic ring, and fires the young imagination as well, perhaps, as "An
Incident of the French Camp," which is said to be true, - another story
of an unnamed hero.

It will interest those same children to hear Browning's ballad of
"Pheidippides," who did

" - his part, a man's, with might
And main, and not a faintest touch of fear."

The story should be told before the poem is read.

It is a pity that Napoleon III proved to be such a small man; for Mrs.
Browning made some wonderful lines about him, which might well be read
to children for the promotion of patriotism. In "Casa Guidi Windows"
occur some of the finest lines for the awakening of true patriotism,
that can be found in our language, yet they are seldom mentioned by
writers on this subject. The best should be read, a few at a time, often
in the family circle.

From the history of the Crimean War many striking tales of patriotism
can be culled, such as incidents in the life of Lord Raglan and the
careers of the wonderful Napiers, who were connected even more closely
with the Peninsular War. Girls will especially find joy and inspiration
in the story of Florence Nightingale. Boys and girls alike will revel in
Mrs. Laura E. Richards' charmingly written "Life" of that heroine.

It is the fashion to speak rather slightingly of the patriotic poems
which were thundered from the old lyceum-platforms by our forefathers,
but many of them naturally possess the spirit of the first patriots, and
thus are of especial value to our children. It goes without saying that
every child should early become familiar with the lives of George
Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Show them that such men "set the pace"
for America, and taught us what true patriotism really is.

Washington's Farewell Address should be read often in every American
Family, and portions of it should be known by heart to every American
child. So should Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, as well as portions of
his other great speeches. The stories should be often rehearsed to them
of Joseph Warren, Israel Putnam, John Paul Jones, Decatur, Marcus
Whitman, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Lee, Jackson and our other heroes of
war and peace. Many of their achievements have been celebrated in worthy
verse. The great orations of Daniel Webster, Edward Everett, Wendell
Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison and others, and the magnificent state
papers of Woodrow Wilson, are well calculated to stir the spirit of true
patriotism in the hearts of noble children, and they should not be
ignorant of those splendid compositions.

A year or more before the great war, a young man was speaking lightly
one evening of "all this sentimental rot about 'love of country'"; how
it showed "that a man hadn't traveled," and is "provincial." He spoke in
the tone affected by a certain class of blasé, hypersophisticated
youths, who might well be punished by the same means that were used for
Edward Everett Hale's "Man Without a Country," - another book which all
older children should know.

The boy had recently returned from a long sojourn abroad. His mother
was horrified to hear his words, though she had detected an unsoundness
in his views ever since he had come back. Still, she said nothing at the
moment. She wanted to think it over.

One evening shortly afterward the family were assembled on the broad
porch. Several guests were present. It was warm, but a soft breeze blew
in from the moonlighted Hudson just below them. Some one suggested that
it was just the time for poetry. Why should not every one recite his
favorite poem?

They began. One gave Rudyard Kipling's stirring "Song of the English."
Another followed with a portion of Tennyson's "Ode on the Death of the
Duke of Wellington," beginning with the familiar words,

"Not once nor twice in our rough island story,
The path of duty was the way to glory,"

and ending with the fine repetition,

"And keep the soldier firm, the statesman pure;
Till in all lands and through all human story,
The path of duty be the way to glory."

By this time, the party of eight or ten cultivated people were all
plainly affected. The one who sat next said, "I was going to recite 'The
Antiseptic Baby,' - and, of course, that is always good, but it doesn't
seem to chime in with our mood to-night. I used to know Daniel Webster's
great speech on the Constitution. Maybe I can recall it," and slowly he
rolled forth the stately words.

When the mother's turn came, she begged them not to groan if she should
give them a very well-worn selection, and started out upon Walter
Scott's, "Lives There a Man with Soul so Dead."

There was some derision in the laugh which greeted her first words, but
all were soon caught in the swirl of the great sentiment, and when she
came to the line "Unwept, unhonored and unsung," there was long
applause, the blasé youth joining in most heartily of all.

"That's an old corker, isn't it, mother!" he cried. "I'd forgotten that
it was so lively. There's a lot in it."

She knew that his ideas were being cleared.

All of this heroism and love of country is represented by our flag. Its
meaning should be explained to our children. Teaching them to salute it,
and to repeat the words which go with the salute, becomes a mere form
unless they understand its deeper significance. Henry Ward Beecher once
gave a noble interpretation of it, which has been amplified by Secretary
Franklin K. Lane in an address to the employees of the Department of the
Interior. Only a few words of it can be given here, but your children
should hear or read them all.

The Flag seemed to say to him: "The work that we do is the making of the
Flag. I am not the Flag at all. I am but its shadow. I am all that you
hope to be and have the courage to try for.

"I am the day's work of the weakest man and the largest dream of the
most daring. I am the Constitution and the courts, statutes and
statute-makers, soldier and dreadnaught, drayman and street-sweep, cook,
counselor and clerk. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of
color, the pictured suggestion of that big thing which makes this
nation. My stars and stripes are your dream and your labors. They are
bright with cheer, brilliant with courage, firm with faith, because you
have made them so, - for you are the makers of the Flag."

This is no mere sentimental fancy.

The thrill of the flag is best understood by those who have seen it on a
foreign shore; but the deepest thrill of all comes on beholding the flag
which bears the marks of shot and shell.

A little boy of six, who had been considered in his family as
unemotional, was one day riding with his mother past a public building,
gaily decorated with bunting. Among the unstained banners above the
entrance hung a cluster of old battle-flags. The child gazed at them
with the greatest interest. Then he turned suddenly to his mother.

"Which do you like best, mother?" he asked. "The bright new flags, or
the old, ragged flags that have been in the battle?"

"Which do you like best?" she said.

"Oh," he replied, while his little lip quivered, "I like best the old,
ragged flags that have been in the battle, - don't you?"

This child had been brought up from infancy upon the stories and poems
of the patriots of the past, but he had never shown before such a marked
effect from them. This effect grew with his years.

The most stolid and selfish child can be made into a fervid patriot, I
firmly believe, by a proper use of the great patriotic literature.

Until within a short time, some of us have deprecated the idea of
filling the minds of our children with visions of killing and of
killers, however brave and noble. But we have learned that, as long as
there are barbarians in the world threatening to overwhelm civilization,
the arts of war must still be practiced. History has described
civilizations as good as ours, perhaps better, which were destroyed by
barbarians, physically stronger than the gentler races which they
attacked. So long as powerful tribes exist, covetous of the wealth and
the territory of their neighbors, and willing to trample down everybody
and everything else to get them, what can we do but fight?

"'Tis man's perdition to be safe,
When for the truth he ought to die."

That means, in the terms of to-day, that we must still sing to our
children the glories of war. Americans properly hate war. It is
antiquated, out of date, - utterly opposed to the spirit of the twentieth
century. We should bring up our children to see that it is just that,
and that we are fighting now simply because otherwise barbarism would
overspread the world, - a barbarism which includes autocracy and
militarism as its chief features, two elements which are intolerable in
a world of democracy.

And yet war is often a purifying fire. It has its noble and uplifting
side. This is the side which is emphasized in the heroic tales which
have been mentioned, and which makes for the development of patriotism
in the child and in the man.



The great mind knows the power of gentleness -
Only tries force because persuasion fails.

THE patriotism of war is far easier to teach than the patriotism of
peace. When bands are playing and the love of adventure is calling, men
find it easy to march away to battle for their country, and boys and
girls throb through all their young beings to do something for it.

But when men are staying at home, with comfort beckoning; with the
government jogging along and getting the main things done somehow or
other, under the guidance of professional politicians; and with one's
personal affairs requiring apparently the application of all one's
mortal powers, - then patriotism needs a spur.

It was of such "piping times of peace" that Goldsmith wrote:

"Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay."

The task set forth before the conscientious citizen then is to keep
alive in himself the clear torch of patriotism, - which simply means the
duty to sacrifice as freely, in proportion to the need, in time of peace
as in time of war.

It is the difficulty of this task, seldom yet accomplished, which has
led to the many eloquent panegyrics, in all languages, upon war as
necessary to the very existence of a nation. Several entire books have
been written to prove that sordidness and selfishness always possess and
soon destroy a nation which does not have frequent wars. The philosophy
of Nietzsche is largely founded upon this theory. Treitschke and
Bernhardi follow him closely. Even De Quincey, Ruskin, and others from
among our best English writers, subscribe to this monstrous doctrine,
and it is true that there is plenty of support for it in history.

But we Americans have always believed in brains rather than brawn for
the settlement of international as well as personal controversies. The
duel has been banished from our country as an antiquated means of
adjusting the quarrels of individual men, and logic requires that a
similar course be pursued toward quarrels on a larger scale. Because we
have been obliged to lay aside temporarily our convictions in order to
save ourselves and the right, from a mad dog of a nation, which
threatens to overthrow civilization, does not mean that we have given up
our ideals. If the American nation stands for anything, it stands for
peace, though we can and will fight if liberty and right are threatened.

In the study of the Iliad which has been suggested, the words which
Agamemnon speaks to Hector should be especially commended to children:

"Cursed be the man, and void of law and right,
Unworthy property, unworthy light,
Unfit for public rule or private care,
The wretch, the monster, who delights in war, -
Whose lust is murder, and whose horrid joy,
To tear his country and his kind destroy."

But in the face of the almost universal testimony against it, all of us
should realize that extraordinary pains must be taken to inculcate the
truth, and live it, that high patriotism can be kept alive in peace as
well as in war.

Precept alone goes not very far in any line, and less, perhaps, in
this, than in any other. The study of history and a little of the most
modern literature, helps. Classical literature, in all languages,
preaches with frightful unanimity, the necessity and the nobility of
war. In the religion of Rome, Mars received ten times more homage than
did Jupiter. The book and the precept must not be neglected, but your
chief weapon in teaching your child the patriotism of peace must be the
deed. You must set a strenuous example, or else all your words will pass
like the whistle of the wind.

In President Hadley's inaugural, he asserted that the main object of
education is to make good citizens, - which is, perhaps, only another way
of saying that the chief object of education is to make patriots.

He was talking of the education of the schools; but Emerson somewhere
says, in effect, that though we send our children to the schoolmaster,
it is, after all, their environment which does most of the educating.

Emerson speaks of the shop-windows along the child's way; but it is his
home which forms the most influential factor in his environment; and the
part of the home usually dearest to him is his mother. It is a common
saying, especially in our cities, that fathers see their children only
when they are asleep, leaving them at breakfast-time, and returning
after they have gone to bed. Up to the age of twelve, or thereabout,
children should retire shortly after eight o'clock. During the next few
years, even though they sit up later, they generally have to study.
Thus, during their formative period, it is upon the mother that the home
training of the children chiefly devolves.

A distinguished clergyman in a public address once eulogized his
mother. He attributed to her every virtue and a wonderful mind. He was a
violent anti-suffragist, and supposed that he was presenting a strong
argument for his side when he said, "But though my incomparable mother
counseled us upon almost every subject that could engage our attention,
she never mentioned to us the subject of politics."

Had he not struck, perhaps, the main reason for the corruption of our
politics? The fathers have no chance to instruct their young children in
the rudiments of politics, - yet those children ought to be so instructed
by somebody. They get little or nothing of it in school. If their mother
does not teach them something about it, they will probably grow up
ignorant of many of its snares and its opportunities.

To-day the anti-suffragists are wiser. They say that women should
understand civic duties and should canvass them thoroughly with their
children. The sin and the shame come only, in their opinion, when women
actually vote for the best men and women to fill the offices.

The case is as if a woman should furnish a house, supplying its kitchen
with every facility for cooking and cleaning; fitting its dining-room
with the proper linen, silver and china; arranging its bedrooms for
comfortable sleep; making its parlors beautiful for guests; and then,
though she has known so well the needs of a household and how to provide
for them, she draws back from the responsibility of running her model
house, as if to say: "My sisters and I are not competent to manage this
house. You men are far abler. Please make and enforce all the rules to
govern it."

Let the men and the women work together, dividing the responsibility
according to the fitness of each individual. There are stupid men and
stupid women and there are bright men and bright women. Women are human
beings before all else and all human interests are their interests.
There is among us too much of cowardice and laziness, posing as
hyper-refinement and modesty. Women as voters, "weavers of peace," as
the old Saxons called them, are bound to be a helpful force in many
departments, and especially in this great work of establishing universal
peace, and teaching men how to use it. They should begin with the child
in its cradle.

For, let us repeat, it cannot be too strongly impressed that the
underlying and fundamental principles of politics must be taught by the
mother, if they are taught at all; and like everything else that is
good, they can be and should be taught. It does not seem to be generally

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Online LibraryKate Upson ClarkTeaching the Child Patriotism → online text (page 1 of 6)