For most countries, patriotism is one of the duties required of citizens. But what, exactly, is patriotism? Cambridge dictionary defines patriotism as “the feeling of loving your country more than any others and being proud of it.” Other dictionaries talk about having an attachment to the ethnicity, culture and history of your country.
According to Wikipedia, an encyclopedia, patriotism began during the Elizabethan era. The Elizabethan era is defined as the reign of Elizabeth I as the Queen of England from 1558 to 1603. National pride was inspired by the expansion of the kingdom and victory over Spain, a rival kingdom.
However, other studies claim that the idea of patriotism began during the Age of Enlightenment. An article by Jessie Szalay who contributes to ‘Live Science’, a platform for knowledge in science, defines the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ as a period of time when a philosophical movement took place. It occurred first in Europe and then America in the 17th and early 18th Century.
It is called the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ because during this period of time, there was increase in knowledge in different aspects such as science, liberty and reason. Because of this, people started to question and become opposed to things such as religion, kingdoms and hereditary leadership.
This, according to Yahoo News, an online news source, resulted in the notion of nationhood. For example, the famous French Revolution of 1789 to 1799 led to the execution of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette of France and the end of a monarchy system.
Marie Antoinette is famous for having supposedly responded to information that peasants couldn’t afford bread with: “Let them eat cake.” However, there is no evidence to support the claim that she made the statement.
The gradual end of monarchy systems led to nationalism which led to patriotism. Patriotism was particularly important during territorial wars, citizens were enlisted to defend their countries or help their countries expand their territories, even to the point of death.
In Africa, patriotism came about after independence from colonial rule and after countries made constitutions.
Although the concept of patriotism is generally focused towards the love for one’s country, people view this love in varying ways and they practice it in different ways.
Some people display their patriotism by joining the army to protect the country from foreign attack. Others come up with innovative ventures to develop the country. Some others join politics in order to make good laws. There are also people who show patriotism simply by being law abiding citizens.
Regardless of the way people decide to show love for their country, patriotism is a powerful tool for personal growth and national development.