Patriotism in Action
The career of Emma Goldman (1869-1940), one of the Jewish Women's Archive's Women of Valor, exemplifies these questions and conflicts. Fighting tirelessly to bring about a more just society, Goldman spent decades struggling against a political-economic system that she believed dehumanized both workers and employers. As an advocate for controversial causes ranging from anarchism to birth control, Goldman came into conflict with United States and local governmental officials who continually harassed her and suppressed her lectures and writing. In 1917, she was imprisoned for publications and speeches opposing both World War I and the draft. Two years later, in 1919, she was deported along with 248 other immigrant radicals also accused of disloyalty for their political beliefs.
The first cartoon is from the cover of the June 1912
issue of Goldman's magazine Mother Earth. It illustrates Goldman's view
of the hypocrisy of those who use patriotism as an excuse to stifle the free
expression of those who disagree with them. The second cartoon, portraying
Attorney General John Ashcroft, which appeared in the December 14, 2001 issue
of the Boston Phoenix, indicates that present-day cartoonists share
Questions for Discussion:
- How is patriotism defined in these two cartoons?
- Do you think there is more than one way to define patriotism?
- How might Emma Goldman's experience relate to the current political
- Is criticism of one's government inherently unpatriotic?
- What is the relationship between patriotism and free speech?
- Should it be illegal to advocate unpopular beliefs?
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Patriotism in Action." (Viewed on December 14, 2019) <https://jwa.org/discover/throughtheyear/november/patriotism/patriotism-in-action>.