Discussion Questions, Part 3

Goldman's speech to the Jury

"Gentlemen of the jury, we respect your patriotism. We would not, if we could, have you change its meaning for yourself. But may there not be different kinds of patriotism as there are different kinds of liberty? I for one cannot believe that love of one's country must needs consist in blindness to its social faults, to deafness to its social discords, of inarticulation to its social wrongs. Neither can I believe that the mere accident of birth in a certain country or a mere scrap of paper constitutes the love of country.

I know many people—I am one of them—who were not born here, nor have they applied for citizenship, and who yet love America with deeper passion and greater intensity than many natives whose patriotism manifests itself by pulling, kicking and insulting those who do not rise when the national anthem is played. Our patriotism is that of the man who loves a woman with open eyes. He is enchanted by her beauty, yet he sees her faults. So we, too, who know America, love her beauty, her richness, her great possibilities... above all do we love the people that have produced her wealth, her artists who have created her beauty, her great apostles who dream and work for liberty- but with the same passionate emotion we hate her superficiality, her cant, her corruption, her mad, unscrupulous worship at the altar of the Golden Calf."

From Trial and Speeches of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman in the United States District Court, in the City of New York, July, 1917 (New York: Mother Earth Publishing Association [1917]).

Questions for Discussion:

  • How does Emma Goldman's definition of patriotism in her speech to the jury compare to your own? How do you think it was received in 1917?
  • What message does the San Diego's Union's cartoon convey about the efforts of those like Emma Goldman? How does the cartoon define patriotism?
  • What relevance do Emma Goldman's speech and the San Diego's Union's cartoon bear to contemporary questions of patriotism, dissent, and free speech in the United States today?

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"A Menace," political cartoon on patriotism, from San Diego's Union.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Questions, Part 3." (Viewed on December 1, 2023) <https://jwa.org/discover/throughtheyear/november/patriotism/discussion-pt3>.


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