The Role of History
History should be the study of what happened in the past, unfiltered, lacking bias. And the teaching of history, the same. That said, of course bias is present in all readers and writers, but it is the job of the historian to report what really happened.
Teaching patriotism, then, is teaching critical thinking. Looking at mistakes as just that, mistakes, and learning from them, does not make anyone less patriotic.
David Brooks, New York Times Columnist, said something that rang true with me on the PBS Newshour of September 18, 2020:
"I mean, presenting America for what it is, a remarkable country founded by remarkable individuals who had flaws, serious flaws, but we have been a self-correcting country, and we continue that process. It's been painful. It's been bloody. It's been slow. But nobody has done it better than the United States of America, in my judgment."
He made this statement in regards to the benefit of teaching civics, where the responsibilities of a citizen are taught in conjunction with the form of our government.
Patriotism is loving one's country despite its faults, working to correct those, seeing things through a clear lense, not one that is distorted.
From Boston Gazette, Nov. 4, 1765. Early American Imprints, Boston Public Library, from NewsBank, Inc., and the American Antiquarian Society. All Rights Reserved.