To most people, however, it is something much more noble than that because it represents an extension of the natural love of man for the country where he was born.
It implies devotion, duties, and sacrifices under the general assumption that there is some sort of sacred link between each man and a definite spot on the planet.
An Englishman may have doubts regarding the British Empire, a Frenchman may be discouraged concerning the future of France.
There are Germans who are not sure that they represent a superior race.
First of all, it is obvious that the sense of nationality is not less developed in Americans than in any other people.
It is quite as real and quite as visible in all its manifestations.
The question whether nationalism, patriotism, the love of the homeland, is beneficial either to the individual or to the human race as a whole is open to discussion.
It might be a much better world if this instinct were eradicated. The fact is that the instinct exists, and that, far from losing its grip on us, on all of us, it is becoming constantly more intense, more exacting, more all-embracing.
To begin with, it took me some time to formulate to myself an answer to the very simple questions: "What makes an American? " These questions will naturally sound absurd to an American, and he might retort, "Well, how does it feel to be a Frenchman?
" But that is just the point—most Frenchmen can tell you quite clearly what makes them conscious of being French, but I have found it very difficult to obtain from my American friends or from my reading a comprehensive definition of the American nationality.