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all his attainments, the college graduate should be; a notion
that he can never efface, even though, through any evil dispo-
sition, he should wish to do so; a notion that forever will
force itself upon his attention, compelling him through all the
years of his life to measure what he is by that image of what he
ought to be.

Not, indeed, in all the endless marvel of detail can the ideal
of character be drawn. By each human being for himself must
the detail be filled in. But in general outlines we can sketch the
type of perfect manhood that we ought to require of ourselves
and of our fellowmen.

The perfect citizen demanded by our own age and by our
own nation can be characterized in a single phrase. The Ameri-
can who is worthy to be so called, the patriot on whom his
country may depend in any hour of peril, the voter who will
neither take the scoundrel's bribe nor follow the lead of any fool
he is exactly and fully described when we say that he is a
rationally conscientious man.

For such a man is, first of all, everything for which the word
"man" stands in its truest emphasis. He is virile, a personal
force, an organism overflowing with splendid power, alert, fear-
less, able to carry to perfect fulfilment any undertaking to which
he may put his hand. Moreover, he is independent, preserving
in his disposition and habits the best traditions of a pioneer
manhood, of those Americans of an earlier time who asked little
and did much, who made homes and careers for themselves.



ao6 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

He demands not too much of society or of his government. He
does not expect to be provided for. He does not ask what ready-
made places in the government service or elsewhere he may slip
into, to enjoy through life with little bother or anxiety. Rather
does he explore, invent, and create opportunities for himself and
for others. It is a melancholy thing when numbers of educated
men go looking for "jobs," or stand waiting for opportunities
to drift their way. The educated man has already had oppor-
tunity, and the world rightly expects him to show powers of
initiative and leadership. He has no right to be a mere imitator
of others; and when he is content to be such, there is something
radically wrong either with him or with the college that has
trained him.

In the second place, the true American is a conscientious man.
He feels as a vital truth and does not merely say as cant
that no one liveth to himself. When he has provided for his
own, he does not think that he has accomplished the whole duty
of man. He remembers that, although he has demanded little
of society, he has in reality received much. Education, legal
protection, the unnumbered benefits flowing from the inven-
tions, the sacrifices, and the patriotism of past generations, he
has shared. These benefactions he wishes to repay, and he
realizes that most of them he must pay for through the activities
of good citizenship. And especially does he realize that no man
can pay these debts by merely living justly in private life and
kindly within the circle of his immediate family and personal
friends. There is no more wretched sophistry than that which
excuses unprincipled conduct in politics, on the ground that the
wrong-doer has always been a good husband and father, and an
honorable man in his private affairs. No nation can endure
which draws fine distinctions between public and private mor-
ality. There is only one kind of honor, there is only one recog-
nized brand of common honesty. A man who, to serve his party,
becomes a liar and a thief, is a liar and a thief, through and
through, in every fibre of his being, though he never told a false-
hood to his wife or robbed an orphan niece of her inheritance.

And, finally, the true American must be a rational man. His



AMERICAN DEMOCRACY 207

conscientiousness must not be of that narrow, dogmatic type,
which degenerates into mere formality or, what is worse, into
intolerant fanaticism. We must not suppose that because the
future of America is full of promise it is devoid of dangers.
Among the dangers that we have to face, none is more grave
than that fanatical passion which too often manifests itself in law-
less dealings with criminal offenders in the name of justice de-
stroying the very foundation of legal retribution which now
and then takes the form of a wild destruction of property in a
misguided attempt to redress the wrongs of the working man, or
which, from time to tune, breaks forth in political crazes that
sweep thousands of voters into the support of sheer folly and
dishonor. To meet these dangers we must have men not only
honest and manly, but also cool, deliberate, large-minded, able
to deal reasonably with problems that are not easy of solution.

"Not till the ways of prudence all are tried,
And tried in vain, the turn of rashness comes."

But let us not be deceived by words. There is rationalism
and rationalism. The rationalism which our country demands is
the positive, not the merely negative and fault-finding kind.
We have quite enough of men whose genius consists in an acute
perception of all that is wrong or imperfect. We have quite
enough of those critics of our political system who can find
nothing good since the fathers fell asleep. The men of the new
day must be of tougher fiber than they, of broader views, of more
inventive mind. The efficient citizen of the twentieth century
must be rational in a positive and constructive sense. A lover of
justice, a hater of wrong, he must be also a disciple of wisdom.

"For to live disobedient to these two, Justice and Wisdom, is no life
at all."

In presenting these views of the future of our country and
of the type of man which it will demand, to you who are about
to go forth from college life into the realities of that future, I
feel assured of comprehension and approval; because, hi an
eminent degree, you have enjoyed the teaching and received the



2o8 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

inspiration which foster the manly and womanly character that
I have endeavored to describe. Preeminently among our col-
leges has Oberlin stood for the positive, the helpful, the hopeful
spirit. Preeminently has she represented ideals of democracy
and equality. No distinctions of race or of nationality have been
recognized by her. And not only this, but an inspiration of the
rarest kind you have had in the personal history of one from
whom this institution took its name. Few, indeed, have been the
lives that have so perfectly exemplified the ideal of rationally
conscientious manhood as did that of Jean Frederic Oberlin, the
tireless pastor of the Ban de la Roche. That district of the Vos-
ges, when Oberlin began his labors there, was merely nine
thousand acres of rocky soil, with only mule paths for roads.
It was inhabited by a people desperately poor, and so ignorant
that few of them could read, while none spoke any other lan-
guage than a barbarous patois. Before Oberlin died, sixty years
later, the Ban de la Roche, largely through his influence, had
been transformed into a productive region, densely populated,
exporting agricultural products, traversed by excellent roads,
and built up with substantial dwellings. Its people had learned
to maintain admirable schools and churches, and to speak the
French language with a purity not excelled anywhere in France.
Such are the possibilities of one earnest life. What may not you
accomplish toward the perfection of our American civilization,
if, in the active years upon which you now enter, you are faith-
ful to examples such as this !

Do not, however, be satisfied with any mere following of
example, with any mere conformity to standards that have been
held before you, in your college days. From you, as from those
who have lived before you, the world will rightly demand new
thoughts and new achievements. Look back upon your Alma
Mater with reverence, but also with a filial care that she do not
too early descend "the quiet, mossy track of age." As alumni,
let it be your study to discover wherein her discipline can be
made more liberal, her teaching sounder and broader, her in-
fluence wider, saner, and more enduring.

And carry with you into the larger life of American citizen-



AMERICAN DEMOCRACY 209

ship the same spirit. Be not satisfied with those achievements of
the nation that have passed into history. Do not forget the
past, but live and work for the future. If you and those others
who, like you, have enjoyed the privileges of a liberal training,
as educated men and women, as citizens of our republic, shall do
your whole duty rationally, conscientiously, fearlessly, there can
be no failure of our experiment in self-government, no diminu-
tion of the blessings of civil liberty.



N



CITIZENSHIP AND PATRIOTISM

PATRIOTISM, INSTINCTIVE AND INTELLIGENT 1

IRA WOODS HOWERTH

[Ira Woods Howerth (1860 ) was born in Brown County, Indiana.

After attending the Northern Indiana Normal College, he engaged for
a time in teaching. He then spent several years in advanced study at
Harvard and at the University of Chicago. For several years he was con-
nected as professor with the latter institution, but in 1912 he became professor
of education and director of university extension work in the University of
California. This essay is a clear presentation of two differing types of
patriotism that ought to be well understood by all persons.]

Patriotism cannot be really understood without knowing
something of the manner of its development. Primarily it is an
identification of the individual with the group to which he be-
longs family, tribe, state, or nation. The patriot proudly
speaks of "my family," "my tribe," "my state," "my people."
This identification is based upon a certain feeling which is the
product of group association, and this feeling is instinctive.

Sociology ascribes the origin of patriotism to the family
life, the family being the first social group. That this is cor-
rect is indicated by the origin of the word patriotism. It is
derived from the Greek word Trarpios, which means of or belong-
ing to one's father. The Indo-Germanic root of the word is
pa, from which we have the Latin pater and the English words
father, paternal, patriarch, patriotism, and many others.
Perhaps the root-word itself is but the natural infantile utter-
ance reduplicated in the word papa. At all events the word
patriotism has plainly a family origin. The papa, the father, be-
ing the provioUng, protecting, and governing element hi the

Educational Renew, vol. xliv, p. 13 (June, igia). Reprinted by nermission.
2IO



CITIZENSHIP AND PATRIOTISM an

family group, his authority supreme, dignity, protection, and
support being personified in him, he was naturally the object
of reverence and devotion. Loyalty to the pater, the father, the
patriarch, was therefore the earliest form of patriotism.

In the course of social evolution the family enlarged into the
clan, the gens, or the tribe. The interests of single families were
then more or less submerged in the interests of a group of families
of which each was a component element. The chief representa-
tive of these larger interests was the head man, the chieftain,
including later the council. Loyalty to the father and family
exclusively was inconsistent with clan or tribal life. Hence
patriotism extended itself to the interests of the larger group and
their tribal representatives. There was, so to speak, an expan-
sion of patriotism. This new form was represented in the clan-
nishness of the early Scot, "owning no tie but to his clan," the
tribal instincts of the American Indian and other primitive
peoples, and the partisanship of the early Greeks and Romans.
With the formation of the tribe, patriotism passed from fatherism
to tribalism.

In the amalgamation of tribes into states and nations the
expansion of the feeling now known as patriotism continued.
Loyalty to the tribe passed over into loyalty to the state or
nation, and the feeling of patriotism became what we ordinarily
express as love of country, the feeling which incites the individual
to identify his interests more or less with those of his country,
and to speak and act in a manner which he supposes will illus-
trate this identification.

Of course, the feeling of patriotism is not confined alone to
the personal group of which the individual is a member. It
attaches itself also to the natural surroundings of the group.
"I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills" is
the expression of a truly patriotic sentiment. But we may
include in our conception of a social group the natural con-
ditions which surround it, and no misunderstanding need arise
from defining patriotism as primarily an instinctive group
feeling.

Patriotism, then, like all other things in the universe, like



aia NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

the mind and all its manifestations, has had its origin and its
development. It originated in association, and association
has been the main factor hi its growth. Now the fact of the
evolution of patriotism, and the manner in which it has taken
place, are the basis of a safe prophecy with respect to what
patriotism is to become, if political and social organization
and amalgamation continue. The affiliation and federation
of countries will enlarge the feeling of patriotism. The "Parlia-
ment of man and federation of the world" would as certainly
conduce to cosmopolitanism or political humanism as tribal
associations conduced to tribalism, and the consolidation of
tribes into states and states into nations conduced to the modern
patriotic feeling. Love of country must gradually give place to
love of kind.

Although patriotism expands with the enlarging composition
of the group, it does not necessarily sever itself from any point
of attachment. The family feeling may still be strong in the
tribe, as with the Montagues and Capulets hi Rome, for in-
stance, and devotion to the state may be powerful in the citi-
zens of the nation, as was conspicuously shown hi the seces-
sion of the Southern States of America. So also the cosmo-
politan may retain his love of country. He is not necessarily
"a traitor," as some seem to suppose. Neither does this larger
patriotism imply a lack of family affection with a Mrs. Jellyby's
sentimental interest in the inhabitants of Borrioboola-Gha.
In pure cosmopolitanism, however, the spirit of national or racial
antagonism must necessarily vanish, and loyalty to one country
or race as against another country or race must be controlled
and tempered by devotion to humanity. The narrower and sel-
fish interests of the particular country to which the citizen be-
longs must be held inferior to the interests of mankind. Of
course, all these interests may coincide, but the world patriot
cannot stand with his country "against the world," unless his
country is right and "the world" is wrong. True loyalty and
humanity can mean only devotion to the principles upon which
the well-being of humanity rests. The world patriot must be
loyal to right everywhere against wrong anywhere. He must



CITIZENSHIP AND PATRIOTISM 213

stand for justice to all against injustice to any. When the action
or demands of his country conflict with the rights of humanity
he must stand for humanity. Hence he may be called by his
compatriots unpatriotic, but he is so only as viewed from the
interests of the smaller group. The "politicals" of Russia,
for instance, are unpatriotic in the eyes of the Russian Bureau-
cracy and its supporters. Though they be faithful to universal
principles of liberty and equality, they are unfaithful to the
principles of Russian despotism; hence, from a certain Russian
standpoint, they are unpatriotic.

George Kennan, in the Outlook for March 30, 1907, gives an
interesting and pathetic account of the attempt of some of these
politicals to manifest their devotion to the larger principles of
freedom embodied in our own Declaration of Independence.
He says: "On the morning of the Fourth of July, 1876, hours
before the first daylight cannon announced the beginning of the
great celebration in Philadelphia, hundreds of small, rude
American flags or strips of red, white, and blue cloth fluttered
from the grated windows of the politicals around the whole
quadrangle of the great St. Petersburg prison, while the prisoners
were faintly hurrahing, singing patriotic songs, or exchanging
greetings with one another through the iron pipes which united
their cells. The celebration, of course, was soon over. The
prison guard, although they had never heard of the Declaration
of Independence and did not understand the significance of this
extraordinary demonstration, promptly seized and removed the
flags and tri-colored streamers. Some of the prisoners, however,
had more material of the same kind in reserve, and at intervals
throughout the whole day scraps and tatters of red, white, and
blue were furtively hung out here and there from cell windows
or tied around the bars of the gratings. Late in the evening, at
a preconcerted hour, the politicals lighted their bits of tallow
candles and placed them in their windows, and the celebration
ended with a faint but perceptible illumination of the great
prison."

This mournful and touching endeavor to celebrate our Fourth
of July did not necessarily indicate a greater love of our country



2i 4 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

than of Russia, but it did imply a devotion to political principles
of universal application. We may conceive that the aspiration
and ideal of these politicals were merely that these principles
should prevail in their own fatherland. They loved not Russia
less, but freedom more. They at least approximated a "higher
patriotism."

Thus far we have spoken of patriotism as an instinctive feel-
ing or sentiment. Now, it is characteristic of an instinct that it
acts without reflection. Though originally purposive in action,
and serving as an agent in individual or group preservation,
an instinct takes no consideration of objective circumstances.
It is a blind impulse. When the stimulus is provided it operates ;
and its operation has often led, in the course of biological and
social evolution, to the extinction of individuals and of groups.
Patriotism, therefore, so far as it is instinctive, is impulsive,
blind, unreasoning, and irreflective. It thrills, it hurrahs, it
boasts, it fights and dies without calmly considering what it is
all about. It resents a fancied insult without stopping to as-
certain whether it is real. It flies to the defense of the supposed
interests of its group without inquiring whether the interests
are worthy or the danger is actual. It is blind patriotism and
springs from the emotional side of the mind. It differs in no
essential respect from the impulse of the tiger {to defend its
young, or from that of the wild cattle of the prairie to defend
the herd. It is easily aroused and easily "stampeded."

On the other hand, there is a patriotism which may be
distinguished from instinctive patriotism by the word intelli-
gent. The emotions are subject to the control of the intellect.
It is the function and power of the intellect to inhibit, re-
strain, sometimes to eliminate, an instinct. Even the instinct
of self-preservation, strong as it is, has sometimes been wholly
inhibited by a duly informed and reflective mind. The proper
intelligence may therefore modify, even reverse, the actions
springing from instinctive feeling. Patriotic sentiment may be
held subject to a thorough knowledge of political and social
conditions and a sense of justice. When so held it becomes
intelligent patriotism. Intelligent patriotism, then, is patriotic



CITIZENSHIP AND PATRIOTISM 215

feeling, instinctive patriotism, under the control and guidance
of knowledge and reflection. It is love of country and the dis-
position to serve it, coupled with a knowledge of how to serve
it well. It does not yield to impulse. It looks before and after.
It restrains a nation from fighting when there are no real in-
terests at stake.

Now there can be no doubt that the great need of all nations
is intelligent patriotism. The modern patriot is too much dis-
posed to act upon impulse. He is "touchy;" he goes off "half-
cocked;" he is full of racial prejudice, indulges in national bom-
bast and braggadocio, Chauvinism, Jingoism, and manifests a
disposition to whip somebody. His patriotism is chiefly an
instinctive patriotism. Such patriotism is a feeling for one's
country without the control of intelligence; it is patriotic zeal
without patriotic knowledge. Under its promptings the patriotic
is sometimes the idiotic. The utterances and actions evoked by
it are sometimes illustrative of the fact that a man may be a
patriot and still be a fool.

Among the effects of instinctive patriotism is the over-
weening national egotism manifested by so many "patriots."
There is a disease called by the learned megalomania. Its
primary symptom is "the delusion of grandeur." So many
patriots are megalomaniacs that the disease seems to char-
acterize every nation and every people. It led Israel to regard
itself as a "peculiar" people, the favorite of the Almighty.
It induced the Greeks to call all other peoples barbarians. The
Chinese, according to their own estimate, are "celestials," and
both the English and the Americans speak of themselves as
divinely commissioned to spread the blessings of civilization
among "inferior" peoples, even if they smother them in the
process. All this is national egotism, megalomania. It arises
from a more or less irrefiective instinctive patriotism.

Obviously, great national and social dangers are consequent
upon instinctive patriotism. By manifesting itself in antipathy
toward another nation, and in irrefiective action, it provokes
suspicion, jealousy, hatred, and unnecessary war. Washington,
in his "Farewell Address," pointed out some of these dangers.



2i6 NATIONAL IDEALS AND PROBLEMS

"Antipathy in one nation against another," said he, "disposes
each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight
causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when
accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, fre-
quent collisions; obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests.
The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes
impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations
of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national
propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would
reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation sub-
servient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition,
and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often,
sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim."
Instinctive patriotism forced President McKinley into a war
with Spain which, with national intelligence and forbearance,
might have been avoided. It inspires irresponsible and mis-
chievous remarks and comments concerning other nations, which
tend to provoke hostility. The following is a sample: "I would be
in favor of annexing Canada right now, if I thought England
would fight. But just to take Canada and have no brush with
England would be too tame. There are hundreds of young men
in this country who would enjoy a war with England, and some
of the young veterans of the war would not be slow in going to
the front." This is the language of a former general of the
American Army as reported by the Associated Press. The cor-
respondent of the Pittsburgh Gazette of December 15, 1903,
when our relations with Colombia were somewhat strained,
wrote: "There are a lot of young officers in Washington who
are hoping that the complications between this country and
Colombia will result in war. They do not expect it will be much
of a war, even if there is a conflict between the two forces, but
at any rate it will open the way to promotion for some of them,
and promotion is the sole ambition of the soldiers." Remarks
like these are prompted solely by instinctive patriotism,
patriotism unrestrained by social intelligence.

Such patriotism not only leads to national bickering and
strife, but it also prevents that national receptiveness so essen-



CITIZENSHIP AND PATRIOTISM 217

tial to progress. "The national egotism which scorns to learn
of neighbors," say Brinton, "prepares the pathway to national
ruin. . . . That nation today which is most eager to learn
from others, which is furthest from the fatal delusion that all
wisdom flows from its own springs will surely be in the van of



Online LibraryMaurice G. (Maurice Garland) FultonNational ideals and problems; essays for college English → online text (page 20 of 39)