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Four Victims of Cheap Patriotism (1910). Anti-war cartoon depicting a widow grieving the death of her husband alongside their children playing with a toy rifle and soldiers.

Anti-patriotism is the ideology that opposes patriotism; it usually refers to those with cosmopolitan views and is usually of an Internationalist and anti-nationalist nature as well. Normally, anti-patriotism stems from the belief that patriotism is wrong since people born in a country, whether they like it or not and regardless of their individuality, are encouraged to love the country or sacrifice themselves for it; consequently, people who oppose patriotism may oppose its perceived authoritarianism, while others may believe that patriotism may lead to war because of geopolitical disputes. Usually, this term is used in a pejorative way by those who defend patriotism or nationalism, and terms such as cosmopolitanism or world citizenship may be used to avoid the bias that comes from the typical usage of the words anti-patriot or anti-patriotism. Sometimes anti patriotical groups and individuals are often used as a form of Active measures against own country by other country or some third side, especially during Cold war.[1] The idea of multiple cultures intertwined has also been questioned as anti-patriotic, but mainly in smaller social communities: colleges, universities, etc.[2]

The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 were pieces of legislation in the United States that were passed after it entered World War I, to incriminate individuals who attempted to impede the war effort.[3] Those who did so were punished and believed to be performing acts of anti-patriotism.[3]

Examples of Supreme Court cases that deal with anti-patriotism[edit]

Texas v. Johnson (1989)[edit]

During a protest outside the Republican Party’s 1984 national convention, Gregory Johnson burned an American flag, he was then arrested and charged with violating a state law.[4] Johnson asserted that his right to burn the American flag was protected by the First Amendment.[4] The case was then brought to the United States Supreme Court.[4] The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 decision that Johnson’s conviction was unconstitutional.[4] Justice William Brennan, in his majority opinion asserted that the act of burning a flag was considered an expressive activity which is protected by the First Amendment.[4] Although, four members of the Supreme Court argued that his actions were forms of anti-patriotism, and therefore punishable and unprotected by the First Amendment.[4]

In Chief Justice William Rehnquist's dissenting opinion he asserted that the American flag is a visible symbol for the country and therefore should be preserved.[4] Rehnquist argued that burning the flag expressed disapproval and anti-patriotism for the nation’s policy, and was therefore a symbolic desecration of the U.S. in its entirety.[4] Still today, many argue that the act of burning the American flag is a clear act of anti-patriotism and should not be protected by the First Amendment.

Schenck v. United States (1919)[edit]

The Espionage Act of 1917 was a piece of legislation that was passed to punish and criminalize individuals who impeded the war effort by interfering with military recruitment and supporting foreign enemies; the act was passed shortly after the U.S. declared war on Germany.[3] Some opposed the war, specifically the American Socialist Party, who publicly declared their disapproval. Charles Schenck was the general secretary for the American Socialist Party, who opposed the war and exhibited that disapproval by distributing pamphlets that vilified Woodrow Wilson’s administration and insisted that the draft was unconstitutional.[5] The court unanimously ruled that Schenck’s distribution of the pamphlets posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the U.S.[5] The court ruled that because of this, his speech was not protected by the First Amendment and was simultaneously in violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.[5] The act of deterring individuals from registering for the draft during wartime can be seen as an act of anti-patriotism as it condemns the U.S. government.[5]

Abrams v. United States (1919)[edit]

In this case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that those who provoked and promoted resistance to the war were in direct violation of the Espionage Act, and their speech was not protected by the First Amendment.[6] The provocation of a riot and strike in order to hurt the war effort was seen as an act of anti-patriotism.[6] Abrams attempted to make the workers in ammunition factories go on strike.[6] Therefore, because Abrams acted in a way that was directly attempting to damage the war effort of the U.S., his actions can be seen as acts of anti-patriotism.[6] Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that this act did not present a clear and present danger to national security and free speech should not be limited because of that.[6] It is reasonable to conclude that in this case, Abrams was acting in violation of the Espionage Act because he attempted to impede the war effort.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Nathanson (1993). Patriotism, Morality, and Peace. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8476-7800-8. 
  2. ^ "Is cultural pluralism anti-patriotism? I think not". UV College Times. 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  3. ^ a b c Gillman, Howard; Graber, Mark; Whittington, Keith (2012). American Constitutionalism. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 419–420. ISBN 978-0-19-975135-8. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Texas v. Johnson 491 U.S. 397 (1989)". JUSTIA. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Schenck v. United States 249 U.S. 47 (1919)". JUSTIA. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Abrams v. United States 250 U.S. 16 (1919)". JUSTIA. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 

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