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William Preston, Jr.

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A Star Spangled Quandary: Cecilia Elizabeth O’Leary, To Die For: The Paradox of American Patriotism

This title, To Die For, conveys the ultimate patriotic sacrifice of civic commitment to the national purpose, producing a pantheon of heroes, even if unknown. The book examines aspects of patriotism, from the well-worn clichés flowing from popular hysteria to the equally significant view of Americans that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It looks at how we, the people, meant a civic patriotism in which citizens defined their progressive, humanitarian identity. Yet martial patriotism turned them into subjects through a subtle indoctrination exalting the state, which has thoroughly unified the two competing traditions, making it possible for militaristic means to be viewed as achieving humanitarian ends.

book review, patriotism — history — US; nationalism — history — US; civilization — 1865-1918 — US; freedom of speech; IWW

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 1 (2000): 196-203