The first sentence of The Nation‘s prospectus, dated July 6, 1865, promised “the maintenance and diffusion of true democratic principles in society and government,” surely a patriotic sentiment, as was the magazine’s name.

Since that time The Nation has attempted to represent and give voice to the best of American values and culture and has steadfastly resisted any and all efforts through the years to brand dissent as unpatriotic.

In the summer of 1991, in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, the magazine published a forum exploring the question of what is patriotism — Is there a patriotism that is not nationalistic? How does the historic internationalism of the liberal left relate to the concept of patriotism? What do you value in the traditions of your country?

An illuminating cast of characters offered answers back then, including Floyd Abrams, William Sloan Coffin, Martin Duberman, Richard Falk, Howard Fast, Vivian Gornick, Jesse Jackson, Erwin Knoll, Mary McGrory, Natalie Merchant and then-editor at large Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Read the still-relevant forum and use the comments field below to let us know how you define patriotism.

Happy Fourth!


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