Alexander's Column

American Patriot Defined

By Mark Alexander · Apr. 14, 2011

Patriots' Day: Their Sacred Honor in Defense of Liberty Endures

“Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” –George Washington

A young reader in the Czech Republic contacted me recently with a question. (Yes, The Patriot Post’s message of Liberty is global.)

She wrote, “We as a Czech family subscribe to The Patriot Post and read it with great interest. My homeland has been subject to the tyranny of Nationalist and Marxist Socialism. Could you please help me understand the difference between ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’? In Europe, anyone who puts his country first is called a nationalist and this pejorative term is equated with patriotism.”

I responded, “Nationalism refers to a blind allegiance to the state, no matter what the nature of the state may be. American Patriotism refers to the steadfast devotion for the First Principles of our nation’s Founding, individual Liberty as ‘endowed by our Creator,’ and the extension of that legacy to our posterity. American Patriotic devotion to Liberty will always be in contest with allegiance to the state or its sovereigns, especially when it manifests in some form of Socialism.”

It is easy to understand how a Czech student might find it challenging to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism. Sadly most American students, heirs to the great legacy of Liberty bestowed upon them by generations of Patriots gone before, also can’t articulate the difference.

In the early morning hours of the first Patriots' Day, April 19th, 1775, farmers and laborers, landowners and statesmen alike, pledged through action what Thomas Jefferson would later frame in words as “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” Thus began the great campaign to reject the predictable albeit tyrannical order of the state and to embrace the difficult toils of securing individual Liberty. It was this as-yet unwritten pledge by militiamen in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which would delineate the distinction between Liberty and tyranny in Colonial America.

Why would the first generation of American Patriots forgo, in the inimitable words of Samuel Adams, “the tranquility of servitude” for “the animating contest of freedom”?

The answer to that question defined the spirit of American Patriotism at the dawn of the American Revolution, and to this day and for eternity, that spirit will serve as the first line of defense between Liberty and tyranny.

In the first months of the American Revolution, English author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, a Tory loyalist, wrote that American Patriots' quest for liberty was nothing more than “the delirious dream of republican fanaticism” which would “put the axe to the roots of all government.” Johnson concluded famously, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Unlike King George’s partisans, however, American Patriots were unwaveringly loyal to something much larger than a mere man or geo-political institution. They pledged their sacred honor in support of Essential Liberty as “endowed by our Creator” and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and its subordinate guidance, our Constitution.

It is this resolute devotion to the natural rights of man, the higher order of Liberty as endowed by God not government, which defines the spirit of American Patriots, and has obliged the animated contest of freedom from Lexington Green to this day.

In all the generations since the Revolution, and loudly again in the present era, the essence of Johnson’s denigration of patriotism has been repeated by all statists, who augment their disdain for Patriots with words like “fascist, nationalist and jingoist.”

These statists, Democratic Socialists in the current vernacular, would have you believe that they are the “true patriots,” and only they deserve to be the arbiters of Liberty. To grasp their extent of their distorted view of patriotism, consider Barack Hussein Obama’s rationale for higher taxes to fund more government growth this week. Obama had the audacity to suggest, “This sense of responsibility – to each other and to our country – isn’t a partisan feeling. It’s patriotism.”

Caveat emptor: As George Washington implored in his Farewell Address, “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

Liberty, as affirmed through natural law, is an abject affront to Socialists, who can claim dominion over others only if they supplant Rule of Law with their own rule. For such statists, the notion of serving a higher purpose than oneself is enigmatic; consequently, there is a raging ideological battle between Democratic Socialists and Patriots across our nation today.

Our steadfast support for Liberty and limited government is diametrically opposed to the Socialist manifesto of the Democrat Party, as reframed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, and renewed by every Democrat president since.

Regardless of how statists choose to promote Democratic Socialism, like Nationalist Socialism, it is nothing more than Marxist Socialism repackaged. Ultimately, it likewise seeks a centrally planned economy directed by a dominant-party state that controls economic production by way of taxation, regulation and income redistribution.

Mustering in response to the current threat of tyranny, the Tea Party movement is the latest incarnation in the lineage of American Patriots serving a cause much greater than our own self-interest. It is a direct ideological descendant of the Sons of Liberty who, in 1773, boarded three East India Company ships and threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor, the first Tea Party.

According to the Democratic Socialists of Barack Obama’s ilk, the Tea Party rank and file are an “angry mob” who are “waving their little tea bags” while they “bitterly cling to guns and religion.” Indeed, the spirit of American Patriots is anathema to these statists.

In fact, today’s Patriots are much like those of previous generations.

We are mothers, fathers and other family members nurturing the next generation of young Patriots. We are farmers, craftsmen, tradesmen and industrial producers. We are small business owners, service providers and professionals in medicine and law. We are employees and employers. We are in ministry at home and missionaries abroad. We are students and professors at colleges and universities, often standing alone for what is good and right.

We are Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and public servants standing in harm’s way at home and around the world, who are loyal, first and foremost, to our revered oath to “support and defend” our Constitution.

We are consumers and taxpayers. We are voters.

We are not defined by race, creed, ethnicity, religion, wealth, education, geography or political affiliation, but by our devotion to our Creator, and the Liberty He has entrusted to us, one and all.

We are Patriot sons and daughters from all walks of life, heirs to the blessings of Liberty bequeathed to us at great personal cost by our Patriot forebears, confirmed in the opinion that it is our duty to God and Country to extend that blessing to our posterity, and avowed upon our sacred honor to that end. We are vigilant, strong, prepared and faithful.

In stark contrast to Samuel Johnson in 1775 and Obama today, John Adams wrote, “If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave.”

To that end, Jefferson wrote, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. … Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”

In 1964, Ronald Reagan issued a clarion call for Liberty in his most famous speech, “A Time for Choosing.” He echoed the commands of Captain John Parker at Lexington Green in 1775: “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.” Reagan concluded, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

Now, on the eve of Patriots' Day 2011, and nearly five decades later, and much closer to the decline that Reagan predicted, we must choose between prosperity and poverty, between Liberty and tyranny.

Which will it be?

While contemplating that question, we should, in the words of Samuel Adams, “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, ‘What should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ … If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands, which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

If you have not already done so, please help us, in the words of Sam Adams, “set brushfires of freedom in the minds of men,” by supporting our Annual Campaign!

View all comments


Nancy B. said:

I recently heard a person say that the Tea Party Patriots are nothing more than the puppets of the Koch Brothers. Now, call me naive if you will, but until that moment I'd never heard of the Koch Brothers. Who are they, and is there any truth to this person's statement? Thanks for your help!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Simms said:

Nancy B. - As highlighted in a New Yorker article last year, the brothers are billionaires who have apparently declared war on the obamas. We're certainly not their puppets. Just brothers in arms.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:14 PM

EricP in UT said:

I think your distinction between Nationalism and Patriotism is good, but not complete. Rather than get too hung up on semantics, it is the concept, or principle, that counts. The real question ought to be, when is pride in, and affection for, one's country a good thing, and when does it come of, or lead to evil? While there may be many divergent opinions, I happen to believe in universal truth, and I believe a patriot (in the good sense) is one who seeks after and defends that truth, and to the extent that his/her country seeks to uphold and defend such truth, then it deserves his/her pride and affection. On the other hand, when a country seeks the forced submission of any man, woman or child, no matter for what end they may claim, then it comes of evil and is not deserving of adoration or respect. I'm sure there is weakness in the way I have worded that, which could be taken advantage of by some, but to me, the underlying principle that must be defended is that of God-given liberty. Perhaps one could say that the real allegiance ought to be to God, who gave us our lives and our freedom, and it is only evil men and women, or the adversaries of God, who seek to take it away. Anyone or anything that upholds that principle of liberty will have my affection and support.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:17 PM

BelieverofTruth said:

Your little photo showing one historic and one modern weapon crossed over a backdrop of the constitution and founding documents is slightly misleading. In 1771, I could have owned a flintlock rifle, however in 2011, the US Govt. owns the superior firepower. We are currently outgunned.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM

The Editor replied:

"We are currently outgunned." Uh, not sure in what state you reside, but your assertion is patently incorrect in most states outside of New England, unless of course you are including military arms. In that case, your comment would still not apply to states south of the Mason Dixon. And that notwithstanding, most of our brothers in uniform are on the right side of their oath and Rule of Law.

EricP in UT said:

I should have read the entire article before posting my above comment. You did, indeed, address the very principle I wanted to convey, so I take back my assertion that your definition was not complete. Sorry! :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Dorothy Amstrup said:

This was a great piece and will fwd. to many!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Glenn, MN said:

I enjoyed this article. It should hit home for many of us. One thought occurred to me while reading it. If our liberty comes from our Creator, what do atheists think? Can any of them be Patriots or are they just another group living off the Patriots. Something to think about.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:25 PM

T Dawson said:

To Whom It May Concern,I have enjoyed reading your publication for some time and pass it along to many on my list, as I find the writing to be in line with my own thinking.My name is Trey Dawson and I am a volunteer instructor for Project Appleseeds - a non profit, all volunteer educational org, dedicated to maintaining the ideals and traditions of the Founding Generation.In order to achieve this lofty goal, we teach rifle marksmanship and the true events of April 19th, 1775, arguably the most important date in American history and sadly, one of the least known or studied.We are non-political and offer only history and marksmanship (one of the fine traditions of the Founders) - nothing more and nothing less.We seek to bring "ordinary" Americans closer to their extraordinary heritage in the hopes that they will assign a proper value to the Liberty that they tend to take for granted and become involved in the system of self government handed down to them - a system that was purchased at the cost of blood and sacrifice beyond our spoiled imagination.My point in contacting you, is that it seems our goals are most similar, even if we approach them from different avenues. Any entity that has supported Appleseeds has seen it come back to them several times over, as our membership is extensive and growing all of the time. Perhaps an interview, or a simple heads up pointing your readers to our website. Even though Appleseed instructors are forbidden to discus modern politics at events - we are inherently political creatures in our personal lives and I feel certain that 99% of our members would be interested in your publication.Please feel free to contact me personally with any questions or suggestions (727) 642-5059.Many thanks in advance,Trey Dawson, AKA: "PHenry" on Appleseeds forum (

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Dean Peckham said:

I wish to contribute again, but also not receive anything in return (pamphlets, booklets, certificates, etc.); can you do this? I cherish what's already been received and have shared with others, but at this time you should find someone else who needs the material. I'm too old to circulate socially and have not too many outside contacts. I love your work, do not give up! Thank you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:03 PM

The Editor replied:

On the donor page, you have the option of selecting to have nothing sent to you.

Sharon in Reading, PA said:

One of the best artilces you have ever written. Well done, Mr. Alexander! Jefferson would have been proud of you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Lynda said:

Yes, and isn't it a shame that Czechs honor Woodrow Wilson.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:13 PM

FREDO said:

Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. What a bunch of crap! First of all there aren't that many of them and second of all , they don't get rich and they don't stay rich because they're stupid! They don't setaround waiting for Uncle Sam to screw them. They hire tax attornys smarter then the ones who work for the IRS AND THE GOVT AND MANY OF THEM PAY NO TAXES AT ALL. i THINK IT'S A BEAUTIFUL THING!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Steve said:

I would just like to point out that I am an athiest but a die hard patriot none the less. Religion and Politics always go hand in hand despite our claims that they should not. I believe I do not need a god to govern me and nor do I need a man to govern me. I pay my taxes and respect my fellow man. I stand up against injustice, tyranny and socialism. I take care of myself and in doing so ensure that no one else needs to take care of me. I am a positve and active member of our great society.I am a patriot.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Stevo said:

Glen- Though I am not an "atheist", I am most definitely not a christian. I have spiritual beliefs but they stem from many different religions. I am an NRA member (I could practically arm my entire street!), a patriot, a tea party member, a lover of American history, a Patriot Post reader, and my ancestors have been on this continent for four hundred years. They fought and died in all four French and Indian wars, the war of Independence, Civil war, WWI, WWII, Korea, (we somehow missed Vietnam and all wars since), and I have a steadfast devotion to our founding principles and the wisdom of our founding fathers. I ask you this, would you deny my participation due to my not being of christian faith? I find your dismissal of non-christians a little unsettling. Our founders opened up the united states to everyone, regardless of creed, though our country was founded on christian principles. Sincerely, Armed and Patriotic, stuck in the Banana Socialist Republic of HawaiiSemper Paratus

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Stevo said:

Oops! Forgot to add the war of 1812! Haven't had enough Kona coffee, yet...

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:47 PM