Classical Patriotism, Especially the Spartan

in Making Patriots

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780226044378
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226044514 | DOI:
Classical Patriotism, Especially the Spartan

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This chapter focuses on the differences in the meaning of patriotism in American society and traditional societies such as Sparta and Athens. In the traditional or Spartan sense, patriots are the citizens who love their country simply because it is their country. Athens needed patriotic citizens to make war, and by making war it gained the empire that fulfilled the spiritual needs of its citizens. Sparta, too, needed patriotic citizens, but only to defend Greece against Persia and itself against the likes of Athens. Although it harbored no imperial ambitions, Sparta was no less warlike. The institutions of both Athens and Sparta were ordered with a view to war, and precisely for this reason, neither Athens nor Sparta could or can provide a model for America. Although no stranger could become a Spartan, and only a minority of the residents of Athens were Athenian citizens, anybody could become an American citizen and patriot.

Keywords: patriotism; American society; Sparta; Athens; patriots

Chapter.  4021 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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