Mishima’s “Patriotism” Essay
Written by Yukio Mishima, Patriotism is an allegorical short story describing the circumstances leading to the death of a young man and his newly wed wife. The author employs different elements of literature to underscore different themes. However, use of symbolism/imagery to explore the theme of loyalty stands out conspicuously as developed next.
In ‘Patriotism’ Mishima develops the theme of loyalty through the use of symbolism. One of the lieutenants general, Ozeki ensures there is proper housing for his soldiers. For instance, Shinji gets an apartment immediately after his wedding. However, the apartments are of poor standards. The houses are old with three bedrooms and a tiny garden on the side.
The rooms are made of patches of mats hence the sun penetrates through into the houses. Moreover, the rooms are not enough hence some rooms double as guest rooms and bedrooms. Interestingly, none of the soldiers complains about the poor housing system. The houses lack any form of security incase the soldiers are on duty.
The soldiers’ silence towards the deplorable living conditions symbolizes their loyalty to the government and authority. The pathetic shacks going for soldier’s houses is an image of how living conditions here are wanting; nevertheless, this image brings out loyalty because at the end of the day, no one complains despite the fact that anyone has every reason to complain.
As aforementioned, silence and compliance are symbols of loyalty. For instance, one day the lieutenant general orders other junior officers to prepare for a coup that would automatically rebel against the government. Homma, Yamaguchi, and Kano respect these orders at the expense of their lives.
This highlights the theme of loyalty, as the soldiers are ready to obey orders well aware of the dangers involved. Although one of the lieutenants, Shinji is against the coup, he does not resist the orders before the general. However, before he commits suicide he writes a note stating, “Long live the imperial forces” (Mishima 95). This form of ‘blind’ compliance regardless of the risks involved underscores the theme of loyalty in the story.
The author continues to explore the symbol of compliance and selflessness by explicating how soldiers brave hostile conditions to execute the coup. On the dawn of 26 February, violence erupts in the country. Soldiers forego their sleep, overlook the snowy weather, and assemble in order to plan for a coup. Although there is violence and poor weather, soldiers obey orders and stay in cold for about two days to plan for a coup.
As the story closes, the reader might wonder why soldiers seem to follow orders blindly even in cases where common sense would demand otherwise. For instance, a coup underlines rebellion against a government that the soldiers ought to serve dutifully (Nathan 59); therefore, one would expect the soldiers to reject such a move with absoluteness. Nevertheless, the author uses this symbolism to bring out the theme of loyalty, if anything loyalty demands one’s support at all times be it in good or bad times.
The theme of loyalty comes out clearly, as Mishima develops Patriotism, an all time masterpiece. Soldiers’ ‘blind’ compliance and silence symbolize their unrelenting resolve to remain loyal to the immediate authority.
Against all the expectations, the soldiers comply with the lieutenant’s orders to stage a coup. Moreover, they remain silent despite the fact that they live under deplorable conditions. Mishima deliberately paints the soldiers as such to bring out the theme of loyalty by using silence and compliance as the core elements that define loyalty.
Mishima, Yukio. Death in Midsummer and Other Stories. New York: New Directions
Publishing Corporation, 1966 Nathan, John. Mishima: A Biography. New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 1974.
Poems comparing: Country Lovers and What It’s like to be a Black Girl Essay
This essay compares Country Lovers by Nadine Gordimer and What It’s like to be a Black Girl by Patricia Smith. The works of these authors explore various themes such as race or ethnicity, prejudice, the quest for freedom, and inequality in societies. The focus of this essay is on the theme of race or ethnicity both Gordimer and Smith explore in their works. The essay shall compare and contrast the two works with regard to literary style, form, and content.
Gordimer has written several novels and short stories. The author has the ability to create a short story with the well-informed themes, which engage her readers. In Country Lovers, Gordimer portrays the struggle of a black woman during Apartheid in South Africa. She shows racial prejudice, characters inner struggles, and confusion.
Gordimer manages to capture several ways people suffer in a racial society as they undergo and endure catastrophic moments. Gordimer uses the theme of racism in order to provoke high-levels of human emotions within few pages of the story.
Gordimer presents the story of love between a white skinned Afrikaner and a black skinned girl in a farm setting. Gordimer notes, “The trouble was Paulus Eysendyck did not seem to realize that Thebedi was now simply one of the crowds of farm children down at the kraal, recognizable in his sister’s old clothes” (Gordimer, 1978).
It is obvious that Paulus developed love for the black, Thebedi. The author writes, “The schoolgirls he went swimming with at dams or pools on neighboring farms wore bikinis, but the sight of their dazzling bellies and thighs in the sunlight had never made him feel what he felt now when the girl came” (Gordimer, 1978). The society and the law did not approve of such relationships in South Africa during the Apartheid era.
Immorality Act 1950 to 1985 of the Apartheid prohibited all forms of sexual relations between blacks and whites. Another law of 1949 known as the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act banned all interracial marriages in South Africa (Tyson, 1999).
Such laws caused serious problems for Paulus and Thebedi because their secret love affair was against Immorality Act. Gordimer notes, “She had to get away before the house servants who knew her came in at dawn” (Gordimer, 1978). Thebedi and Paulus kept their affair going despite harsh laws discouraging racial relations.
Gordimer notes that both black and white children played together when they were young, but when the whites attend school, “they soon don’t play together anymore” (Gordimer, 1978). This implies that racism had minimal influences on children. This marks the spread of racism among children. It shows that boarding schools create a sense of superiority among whites as a result blacks refer to their former friends as ‘missus and baasie’.
In the poem, What it’s like to be a Black Girl, Smith explores the issue of racism in a jagged society. The persona (a black girl) is at the threshold of puberty and feels a sense of discomfort with her changing physical body and mind as she hopes for better changes.
Smith uses narration in order to drive her point of racism to readers in the first three lines of the poem. The style relies on “jagged sentence structure” (Pfeiler, 2003) coupled with a language of profanity to show her readers the seriousness of the poem. Thus, we can be able to understand young black girls’ lives in 1950s when she wrote the poem.
Smith explores how racism affected black women in her time. Racism went to the extent of affecting health of women in society. For instance, transition into womanhood was an ordeal for black girls in a racial society, “it’s dropping food coloring in your eyes to make them blue and suffering their burn in silence” (Smith, 1955).
Consequently, black girls embraced puberty with a sense of confusion and sadness, “First of all, it’s being 9 years old and feeling like you’re not finished, like your edges are wild, like there’s something, everything, wrong” (Smith, 1955). Every teenage girl experiences such thoughts. However, Smith introduces the idea of racially jagged society and its pressure on girls by inserting ‘black girl’.
The society is changing for young black girls. As a result, young girls have to find means of fitting in a racially jagged society using several ways, “It’s dropping food coloring in your eyes to make them blue and suffering their burn in silence. It’s popping a bleached white mop head over the kinks of your hair and priming in front of the mirrors that deny your reflection” (Smith, 1955).
The usages of “food coloring in eyes and hair bleaching” (Smith, 1955) show how a young black girl struggle to grow into acceptable woman in a racial society. She aims to be like white women, who have white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes and then men would admire.
Historical analysis requires readers’ knowledge of historical events of the time (Tyson, 1999). This enables readers to understand the form and context of literary works in the context of history. Therefore, we can understand both Country Lover and What It’s like to be a Black Girl in the context of history. Readers can only imagine what blacks experienced at the time of Apartheid and its effects on mixed raced relationships.
For instance, Gordimer notes, “He told her, each time, when they would meet again” because they cannot be seen in public together (Clugston, 2010). From the above sentence, we can understand why the relationship between Thebedi and Paulus was socially wrong. The Apartheid laws prohibited such relationships between mixed races. The white people controlled most aspects of social life in South Africa.
Their children attended best schools and learned ideas about racial segregation in society. On the other hand, blacks learned to respect white people as they grew up. Therefore, understanding the historical context of Country Lover enables readers to understand the position of a black woman when Paulus murdered the baby.
Both the poem and the short story have shown historical forms and settings. Gordimer and Smith wrote their works while racism was a dominant factor in a relationship between whites and black. Apartheid reflected racial discrimination in South Africa, whereas sense of skin color discrimination showed racial discrimination in American society.
Both works show that racism influenced all aspects of life, including individual appearances and interracial marriages. In the case of Thebedi, racism denied Thebedi justice following the murder of her child. Within the historical context, Gordimer aims to invoke social protest using her short story. She highlights and draws readers’ attention to contemporary social problems in South Africa as she hopes for change (Lazar, 1993).
On the other hand, the poem depicts a black girl struggling to fit in a racial society (Smith, 1955). Therefore, we can only understand lives of Black Americans during racial segregation and discrimination based on skin color. In the poem, we can relate to the struggle of a young black as she struggles to grow into an acceptable woman in a racial society (Pfeiler, 2003).
Smith uses the form of confessional poetry in which she explores intensely experiences of black women with unusual frankness. This was the case in 1950s when writers condemned social issues in society. Smith aims to bring readers’ attention to social pressure black women experience in order to gain acceptance in a racial society.
Smith also uses her poem as a form of social protest with the hope that social circumstances will improve as she notes, “it’s finally have a man reach out for you then caving in around his fingers” (Smith, 1955).
The contents of What It’s like to be a Black Girl and Country Lover have women to depict racism in societies as they deal with unfairness in societies as protagonists of the story. Both writers use black women because such acts affect them most in society.
Smith uses vocal style to express her feelings in the poem. This style of expression enables readers to understand that being a black woman in a racial society tough. The author uses words, which arouse a sense of sadness and indignation such as ‘everything wild’ and ‘suffering their burn in silence’. Thus, a black girl must engage in activities, which will make her to look like a white woman for social acceptance.
The sense of bitterness drives the poet to use profane language in her poem, “it’s learning to say fuck with grace, and fucking without it” (Smith, 1955). This symbolizes the way a black woman feels in a racial society.
Gordimer and Smith show that children do not understand differences in society due to racism. For instance, in the poem, the black girl has “a sad tone and does not understand why she is different” (Pfeiler, 2003). On the other side, the short story shows that both white and black children play together when they are young.
However, as they grow up, racism influences their actions and feelings. Paulus ends up killing Thebedi’s child while the black girl has to endure suffering in silence. The authors show that racism is destructive irrespective of where it occurs. From these female characters, we can be able to understand what it meant to grow up during Apartheid era in South Africa in the 1970s and in America in 1950s during racial segregation and discrimination.
Gordimer presents her work from a third person point of view. This style enables the writer to present the story in an unbiased manner without authorial bias.
We can conclude that both literary works present historical realities of racism in different settings. Historical circumstances shape events of these literary works. Therefore, these literary works use women protagonists in order to expose harsh realities, which black women experience in racial societies. Societies of the 1900s considered interracial romance a taboo due to racial prejudice at the time. Consequently, such racial prejudice could only lead to devastating consequences.
The style, form, and content of both works show how whites in South Africa and America heightened racial tension in which blacks suffered in most cases. Therefore, we can learn of social stigma of being black as a social reality of the problem at the time.
Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Gordimer, N. (1978). Country Lover. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press.
Lazar, K. (1993). Feminism as Piffling’? Ambiguities in Nadine Gordimer’s Short Stories. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Pfeiler, M. (2003). Sounds of Poetry: Contemporary American Performance Poets. Tubingen, Germany: Gunter Narr Verlag.
Smith, P. (1955). ‘What It’s Like To Be A Black Girl (for Those of You Who Aren’t)”. Web.
Tyson, L. (1999). Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. New York: Garland Publishing.
“Patriotism” by Yukio Mishima Literature Analysis Essay
The masterpiece Patriotism by Mishima is an allegorical exposition of the circumstances leading to the death of a young man and his newly wed wife. To bring out the themes of the story, Mishima applies diverse elements of literature to achieve the same. Nevertheless, the use of imagery to underscore the theme of devotion comes out clearly, as the story unfolds.
“Patriotism” by Yukio Mishima
In ‘Patriotism’ Mishima develops the theme of devotion through the use of imagery. The education edict that, “husband and wife should be harmonious” (Mishima 2), does not evoke any form of fights or disagreement between amongst men; on the contrary, it stirs love, respect, and devotion for each other.
Husbands do not scold their wives but they give their lives, love, and time to their wives in full measure. In this case, the education edict comes out as an image, a controversial image for the author to underscore the theme of devotion. Conventional wisdom would call for such an edict to cause revolts amongst men (Keene 1220); however, the edict arouses love.
The education decree
Written at a time when affirmative action is unknown, the education edict would conventionally attract bad blood from men who are enjoying superiority at this time. The Japanese men at this time have every reason to say they are not equal to women; however, in a bid to underpin the theme of devotion, Mishima chooses to paint the men as compliant beings who would raise no finger even at times when they should do so.
In what appears like irony, Mishima paints the soldiers as devoted persons; for instance, instead of revolting against the edict, all men embrace it and decide to love their women even more. Therefore, the education decree is an image that underlines devotion that ran deep in the Japanese culture at that time (Gwenn 96). Similarly, the citizens have to show love to their Imperial Majesties each morning; something they execute devotionally.
There are tablets holding sets of photographs of Imperial Majesties and before going to work, one has to bow before the photographs. The Imperial Majesties’ photographs are images used deliberately to emphasize the theme of devotion. If the people were not devoted, they would find no reason or sense in dutifully bowing down to the photographs every morning.
The Majesties’ portraits
The people’s compliance and dutifulness shows how devoted they are and through this, Mishima achieves the theme of devotion comfortably. Moreover, there is renewal of holy water every morning “and the sacred sprig of sasaki was always green and fresh” (Mishima 2).
The reason why the lieutenant and his wife renew the holy water every dawn is a symbol of their degree of devotion. In a recap, the characters in Patriotism are devoted to whatever they believe, be it governance or religion; once they set out to do something, they execute it devotionally. Their devotion in worshiping the Imperial Majesties is just but an indicator of how devotion can run deep in a society.
Mishima seeks to highlight a number of themes in Patriotism by employing different literal elements. However, the use of imagery to explore the theme of devotion stands out conspicuously throughout the story.
Instead of revolting against what seeks infringe their superiority, men choose to love their women even more in the spirit of devotion. Moreover, the theme of devotion comes out in the way people dutifully bow to images of Imperial Majesties. The education edict and the Majesties’ photos are images that underline the theme of devotion in the story.
Keene, D. Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era. New York: Holt, 1984.
Gwenn, P. The Moon in the Water: Understanding Tanizaki, Kawabata and Mishima. Honolulu: Hawaii University Press, 1979.
Mishima, Y. “Patriotism.” Mutantfrog Travelogue. Web.
Patriot Act Importance for the American Citizens Research Paper
Because of the tragic events of 2001, and the consequences of the terrorist act, together with the overall concern about the security situation in the world, the USA government, headed by George B7ush, came to the conclusion that the law that enables the security services act as fast as possible is needed.
Accordingly, in 2001 the so-called PATRIOT Act of 2001 was created in order to prevent the tragic events from happening on the territory of the United States. Since the act clarifies the issues of the modern security system of the government and several points on the foreign and home politics, it would be a good idea to trace its creation, consider its points and see the results of the act applied to the real political system.
Coming into legal force on October, 26 2001, the act that was read as Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 was supposed to make the active security system more efficient.
To be more precise, the new act enacted to help track down and punish terrorists and to prevent further terrorism, contains no provisions specially directed at libraries or their patrons.” (Ewing 8). Thus, it can be concluded that the act is supposed to make the system of tracking the terrorists and preventing their actions in a more efficient and productive way.
Historically, the PARTIOT Act has been derived from the act of the same meaning and influence that preceded the PATRIOT Act. Called FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, it was aimed at protecting the country from the possible invasions that the opponents could undertake, and covered the points that allowed the security system to act according to the circumstances, enabled with the power to protect the citizen with every single method possible. Abele explained it in the following way:
It prescribes procedures for requesting judicial authorization for electronic surveillance and physical searches of persons engaged in espionage or international terrorism against the U.S. on behalf of a foreign power. (Abele 19)
In other words, the GISA act was aimed at maximizing the protection for the citizen of the U.S. and making the system of the international security work its best. In fact, these were the prerequisites of the PATRIOT Act emerging. In spite of the fact that the Act was aimed at the most decent aim and was supposed t be greeted with open arms, there was some chill in the society, both political and civil, as the act came into force.
However, to understand the reasons that underlay the creation of the PATRIOT Act, a deep retrospective into the history is required. The reasons that made the government make the decision to come back to the basics of the security system introduced in 1996 antiterrorism legislation were quite sufficient and well-thought. It must be admitted that these reasons were inspired by the idea of the overall security of the United States.
In order to understand the reasons for the Patriot Act, information concerning the months, weeks and days leading up to 9/11 is required. One primary reason for the Act was the belief that the traditional way of conducting business had failed; thus, the need for the Patriot act. (Smith 3)
Actually, there was a great deal of critics that made people think that the act was of no profit or use to the USA and that it practically was targeting at the democracy that the people of the United States were appreciating so much . This was the challenge that led to the accusation of not following the Constitution, which was close to passing a death penalty to the act. However, the creators of the act did not keep silence and presented well-thought arguments as well.
As it was the case after the passage of the 1996 antiterrorism legislation, immediately after passage of the 2001 Patriot Act hundreds of pressure groups condemned the law because of its capacity to diminish civil liberties protection in the name of the national security against terrorism. (Ball 70)
The idea that the opponents presumed was that, enabling the security systems to act according to their own plans in the name of defeating terrorism, the government was violating people’s rights, for the ways that the new law could be read were more than numerous. The suggestions of how far the security systems might go to provide total safety were rather gloomy and making people think of the stability of their rights and privileges.
The new law was found rather difficult to put into practice even with the parliament of the United States. Even the bodies of Congress suspected that the act will not be greeted by the citizen willingly. Actually, they had the reasons to worry.
Although the president’s influence is evident in both congressional bills, members of the House and the Senate fought hard to strike a balance between increasing the power of intelligence and law enforcement personnel and eroding civil liberties including the right to privacy granted to all American citizens. (Scheppler 27)
Indeed, taking into account that the new law presupposed that the intelligence had the rights of wiretapping and getting involved into people’s personal life, this was close to challenging the principles of the USA democracy. However good and efficient the new system of protection could be the violation of the nation’s constitutional rights was fraught with undesirable consequences, up to rebellion. Of course, the government could not allow itself to go that far.
The things that stirred such great debates in the society were the methods that FBI was allowed to apply to trace and prevent the terrorist acts before they took people’s lives. These could be many, but the most well-known are wiretapping and pen registers. As the most obvious violation of human’s rights, these methods were criticized by the population severely.
Section 216 of the Patriot Act amended the existing pen register and trap and trace laws to include e-mail messages. The Patriot Act allows intelligence agents to capture outgoing and incoming e-mail addresses, without intercepting e-mail content or subject line text. (Scheppler 32)
This triggered numerous protests that were held in 2001 for the act to be disabled so that people could feel safe about the freedoms that they had. “Given the past record in American history, these critics were not sanguine about the future of the civil liberties in the new age of asymmetrical warfare against terrorism” (Ball 70).
Indeed, the American citizens had the reason to worry, taking into consideration all the sufferings that the USA was to go through to achieve the democracy that they had. The new law did give the personal safety that was needed badly in the age when terrorists were so successful in their cruel act, but there still was the need for the democratic approach, which the new law seemed to ignore.
However, the ample heaps of critics that have been poured on the new project overlooked a very important subject, which was the importance of the national security system reinforcement. With all its drawbacks and the points that blowed the basis of the American democracy, it still provided a sufficient protection from the invaders.
This was the reason that had to be taken into account, for people needed security and protection badly. The terrorist acts might occur once again, and even more people could suffer. While there was something that could be done about the dangerous situation, all possible measures were to be undertaken.
Still it must be admitted that there were the positive feedbacks from the population, since it was understood that it was the matter of life and death for the U.S., the terrorist acts able to occur every single moment. The restrictions were needed to be applied to the acting system of security, which was well understood and was considered the prior goal of the governmental bodies.
As time passed, the date of expiry of some of the positions in the Act was approaching. The date when these positions were disabled from the further influence was December 31, 2005. By that time, the security system should have improved and detected the probable danger of terrorism. According to the results that have been presented by that time, there were major achievements that have to be spoken about.
After all, the danger of the terrorist acts was solely vanishing, and people could finally feel safer in their own homeland. Although, like any other countries, U.S. cannot guarantee a complete safety, but the danger of the terrorist acts was practically nullified. The results spoke for themselves, claiming the new law to be effective.
Finally, the PATRIOT Act has gained the support among the American citizens and has proved its being a worthy method of solving the problems of the foreign policy that are connected with terrorism. It has been a valuable experience for the American people, and the safety that it provides guarantees that the USA will not suffer from the terrorism acts anymore.
Abele, Robert. P. A User’s Guide to the USA Patriot Act and beyond. New York, NY: University Press of America, 2005. Print.
Ball, Howard. USA Patriot Act of 2001. Santa-Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004. Print.
Ewing, Alphonse B., and Charles Doyle. The USA Patriot Act Reader. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Publishers, 2005. Print.
Scheppler, Bill. The USA Patriot Act: Antiterror Legislation in Response to 9/11. New York, NY: Rosen Publishing Group, 2005. Print.
Smith, Cary S., and Li-Ching Hung. The PATRIOT Act: Issues and Controversies. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas Publisher, 2010. Print.
Effects of Patriotism Essay
Patriotism is the love that one has for his/her country. When America was fighting for independence patriotism was very important because it encouraged Americans to put more efforts in the struggle for independence.
America is made up of fifty states; all of these were expected to unite to fight against British rule in America. Some people did not see the importance of fighting and therefore chose to remain loyal to the British government. Their loyalty was seen by freedom fighters as an insult to the American people. Their houses were burnt, and some of them were killed because they were thought to be undermining the efforts of freedom fighters.
Everyone was expected to show his/her commitment to the struggle for independence regardless of their sex or age. This led to a lot of casualties and destruction of property. The war affected children of that time negatively because both men and boys were recruited into the armies and sent abroad. This meant that the boys had to quit school and join the army. In the battlefields many men were killed which left many children fatherless and therefore the mothers had to assume duties that were earlier left for fathers.
Children were not allowed to be children because they had very little time with their families. They were organized into youth organizations that were responsible for collecting money within their schools and within areas of their locality. The money would then be used to support the struggle for independence.
The children’s’ efforts in the struggle for independence were greatly recognized and appreciated by the government which led to the introduction of classes on patriotism and nationalism. This was done because the government and activists had declared that patriotism was a must for all.
The women were also directly affected because they had to take positions that were earlier reserved for men and therefore they spent most of their time at work, leaving the children without someone to take care of them. The children were on their own because the men in their families such as uncles, brothers, grandfathers, and fathers had joined the army.
After the war women had been enlightened and shifted from being house-wives and were employed in various sectors such as factories and offices. Men were significantly affected by the struggle for independence.
While in the battlegrounds, they were not to show any signs of fear, and sometimes their fellow men killed those who did so. Fighters who had severe injuries were sent back home. Most of the men who died in the war were below 30 years which meant that women who had not been married had to remain unmarried for a long time.
Men who returned home were left helpless under the care of nursing homes. They felt unimportant to society because they could not marry and have children. This was so because most of these men returned home without hands and legs. The effects of the war are still being felt to this date.
- Paul, D. (2007). True Stories of the First World War. The USA. First Scholastic Printing.ISBN 978-0-439-93237-0
The Psychological Impact of the Patriot Act on the American Public Research Paper
The advent of modern civilization has transformed governments into critical institutions. The importance attached to governments hinges on the view that they take responsibility for indispensable aspects of the wellbeing of their people. The sustenance of these principal responsibilities requires governments to adopt policies that are consistent with their development agenda.
A good example of such a scenario is the United States’ enactment of the Patriot Act 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon coupled with the anthrax deaths that followed shortly afterwards (Skitka, Bauman & Mullen, 2004).
The involved policymakers drafted and enacted the Act hastily with nearly unanimous support from the entire US fraternity with the hope that it would curb any further attempts to instigate similar attacks against the Americans. The perception of the people has changed from unanimous acceptance of the legislation to a state of ambivalence. In the light of this development, this paper seeks to explore the psychological impacts of the US Patriot Act on the Americans and unearth the reasons behind the change of attitude towards the Act.
Historical overview of the US Patriotic Act 2001
The US Patriot Act of 2001 was enacted hardly six weeks after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The name “USA PATRIOT” is an acronym for “United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” (Hamm, 2004, p.6).
According to Abdolian and Takooshian (2002), after the 9/11 attacks there followed a notable number of anthrax deaths, which were perceived to emanate from the use of biological weaponry in the quest to perpetuate terror against the US public. Like the Antiterrorism Act of 2006 and other similar legislation in the past, the US Patriot Act of 2001 drew sharp criticism later and it remains the subject of incessant debates to date.
Reservations have been expressed over the Act’s curtailment of fundamental liberties of the American people. This situation is aggravated by the view that the US was founded on a philosophy of democracy, which espouses liberty and equality for all. In this sense, the Act is inconsistent with the long-standing values of the US and thus it marks a major step in the departure from the foundational philosophies of the United States of America.
The psychological impact
The Act was almost unanimously welcome at the time of its enactment. The legislature overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Act (Abdolian & Takooshian, 2002). The position of the larger public was not any different as Skitka, Bauman, and Mullen (2004) assert that over two thirds of the US public was in favor of the Act at the time of its enactment.
Skitka, Bauman, and Mullen (2004) observe that 49% percent of the US public was willing to sacrifice part of its civil liberties in favor of the fight against terrorism after the Oklahoma bombing of 1995. The figure rose to about 68% after the 2001 attacks, but was only 29% in 1997 when there was considerable calm (Skitka, Bauman & Mullen, 2004).Therefore, the overwhelming support for the Patriot Act seems to have been largely sentimental.
Many people including the legislators who passed the Act are on record saying that in retrospect, they conceded that their opinion of the Act was initially inspired by fear or simply not bothering to find out what it contained due to anxiety. For instance, Hamm (2004) notes that some legislators reiterated that the Patriot Act of 2001 was the worst legislation they ever passed.
It is extrapolated that less than five percent of the legislators who voted for the Act read it before voting in its favor (Hamm, 2004). Kashan (2009) notes that almost immediately after its enactment, the Act sparked heated debates all across the USA. There were numerous offensive provisions whose implications eluded its proponents until later when the Act came into full force. The Act allows the US Department of Justice to
Tap telephones, e-mail messages, and personal computer hard drives (including roving wiretaps), without a legal probable cause, request private and personal business and bank records, without a court hearing, and solicit a patron’s list of library books. …investigate a person who is not suspected of a crime and/or is not the target of a terrorist investigation, secretly conduct “sneak-and-peek” searches without a warrant, withhold the names and other information about individuals arrested and detained, hold closed hearings, and monitor jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients (Hamm, 2004, p.6).
By all standards, this Act is the most overbearing legislation ever enacted in the history of the US (Bloss, 2009). The public expressed reservations for the legislation almost immediately after its enactment because of what followed. The 9/11 terror arrestees were reportedly mistreated in many ways while in custody. They were physically abused, denied the opportunity to see their attorneys, and detained for long periods without being informed of their offences (Hamm, 2004).
In addition, the arrestees were largely Muslims or of Arab origin (Hamm, 2004). Despite the view that the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were Muslims or of Arab origin, it was not reason enough to brand every Muslim or Arab a terrorist. Intriguingly, this description underscores exactly what the government did and more so, with levels of impunity that prompted the US people to start thinking differently about the future implications of the Patriot Act.
The Act was devised to prevent further terrorist attacks against the US, but it has been massively abused. Hamm (2004) observes that the FBI has been gathering intelligence on the activities of American environmental and anti-globalization organizations, which are well known not to engage in any terrorist activities.
Hamm (2004) adds that in the state of Indiana, FBI officers are reported to have approached a local librarian and demanded access to the borrowing records of certain Muslim students of Indiana University. The librarian declined, but he was threatened with arrest. Section 215 of the Patriot Act permits an FBI agent to obtain a subpoena from some designated courts and use it to gain access to anyone’s records without their knowledge.
This would have been the case if the agents in the Indiana case had obtained the subpoena before their visit to the library. Intriguingly, they chose to visit the library without the document and threatened the librarian with arrest due to refusal to cooperate.
In a separate case, President Bush’s administration sparked controversy when an American born citizen, Jose Padilla, accused of plotting a bomb attack, was incarcerated in solitary confinement for over three years without a right to trial because he was considered an enemy combatant (Kashan, 2009).
The important question that arises in the light of such occurrences is whether the Patriot Act is worth the sacrifice that US citizens so willingly made for the sake of safety and security. Bloss (2009) argues that the hostility that US citizens show towards the Patriot Act is founded on the discovery that their liberties were sacrificed in exchange for security against terror attacks, yet this Act does not provide the purported security. Instead, they feel targeted due to the numerous unlawful actions by the security machinery against the public.
Psychologically, this Act has kept the US public in constant anxiety because their confidence in the idea that the Act could enhance their security has waned over the years.
The confidence has been replaced by frustration and feelings of betrayal because their long cherished liberties, such as the right to privacy among others, were sacrificed without being given the chance to give their opinions yet in the end they are at the receiving end. At the time of enactment of the Act, it is reported that over two thirds of the US public were in its favor. Naturally, everyone would expect such a reaction from the people especially if the devastating nature of the 9/11 terror attacks is considered.
At the time of enacting the Patriot Act 2001, the US public emotionally and psychologically devastated. In that state, they could have welcomed anything that purported to provide security against similar attacks. They thus welcomed the Act with a sense of relief knowing that anyone attempting to plot a similar attack would be incarcerated.
However, in the years that have followed its enactment, it has gradually dawned on US citizens that their relief was misplaced because the Patriot Act does not actually have the ability to eliminate terrorism as initially thought. Thus, the US public is constantly aware of the fact that the threat of terror attacks lives on. This creates a feeling of disappointment and gives them a resigned attitude over the same because efforts that have been made to alter the Act have all proved futile.
The US citizens feel betrayed because although they expressed support for the Act, that was only after it had been enacted. The Act was completely devoid of their input even at the lowest level yet it took away the fundamental right to privacy. It is arguable that they were robbed of their privacy. This move creates a feeling of betrayal because for the average US citizen, his/her right to privacy is no more yet the fear of terror attacks still lives.
This situation reflects the assertion by Zelman (2002) that citizenry that willingly gives up its liberties to the government in exchange for security and protection ends up losing both. In the US case, terrorism is still a reality that can manifest anywhere in the US at any time and on top of that, their every activity is monitored by the government.
The Patriot Act trampled the right to privacy in the name of ensuring national security (Nieto, Johnston-Dodds & Simmons, 2002). The gist of the controversy over this development is that the government has failed to use the freedom it gained through the Act objectively.
Prior to this Act, the law cushioned the public against arbitrary action by the government. In addition, it was not possible for the government to eavesdrop on anyone or access any private records without permission from a court law (Nieto, Johnston-Dodds & Simmons, 2002).
Arguably, under such circumstances, it was a cinch for the unscrupulous individuals and groups to perpetuate all sorts of unethical and unlawful activities against the US citizens, as although security agencies employed the best available intelligence techniques, they could not penetrate the private communication of individuals or groups to identify plots of terror attacks or other criminal activities.
Thus, prior to the Patriot Act, the constitution’s position on human rights was an impediment to the ability of security agencies to combat terrorism (Zelman, 2002).
This assertion is supported by the view that despite the government’s endeavors to fight terrorism; acts of terrorism were successfully planned and executed in the US. Logically, this planning involved people within the US communicating with others from outside the US, yet due to the law, the government was incapacitated and could not single out such communication and possibly avert the attacks.
The devastating nature of the terror attacks recorded in the history of the US and specifically the 9/11 attacks made it permissible to sacrifice privacy rights to avert similar attacks. Law-abiding citizens who have nothing to hide need not have any problems with legislations such as the Patriot Act 0f 2001.
The government needed to have to access to the records of every form of communication in order to work effectively with the Act, which implies that there is no way some elements of privacy could be exempted from the Patriot Act and still have it work effectively.
The controversy surrounding the act should thus be blamed fully on the government as after obtaining the authority it required, it has failed to use the authority responsibly and objectively. It would not be so much of an issue if the government strictly adhered to the purpose of the Act and treated people lawfully during its enforcement.
The US Patriot Act was a well-intentioned piece of legislation that sought to enable the government deal firmly with terrorism. It is unfortunate that the manner in which it has been enforced has sparked furious debates on its suitability. Life is more important than privacy, but the government has failed to use its acquired authority constructively for the good of the US public. Security agencies seem to be spying for the sake of spying for the law allows it.
Even though no terrorist attacks have been recorded since its enactment, the government has failed to use the Patriot Act for the intended use and it has instead turned it against the US Public. This move is not acceptable considering that the citizens lost their right to privacy for the sake of this legislation. Objectivity and goodwill need to be maintained if the Act is to be used effectively and without any major controversies.
- To stop unscrupulous law enforcement agents from taking undue advantage over the public under the guise of implementing the Patriot Act, strict measures need to put in place to help identify such agents and severely punish them to restore public trust in the Act.
- The government should open up the extent and mechanisms of enforcing of this Act to the public scrutiny. The enforcement of this act is shrouded in secrecy yet the Act only curtailed the right to privacy and not right to information.
Abdolian, L., & Takooshian, H. (2002). The USA Patriot Act: Civil liberties, the media and public opinion. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 30(4), 1429-1453.
Bloss, W. (2009). Transforming U.S. police surveillance in a new privacy paradigm. Police Practice and Research, 10(3), 225-238.
Hamm, M. (2004). The USA Patriot Act and the politics of fear. London, UK: Cavendish.
Kashan, S. (2009). The USA Patriot Act: Impact on freedoms and civil liberties. ESSAI, 7(8), 86-90.
Nieto, M., Johnston-Dodds, K., & Simmons, C. (2002). Public and private applications of video surveillance and biometric technologies. Sacramento, CA: California Research Bureau.
Skitka, J., Bauman, W., & Mullen, E. (2004). Political tolerance and coming to psychological closure following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: An integrative approach. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(6), 743-756.
Zelman, J. (2002). Recent developments in international law: Anti-terrorism legislation-part two: The impact and consequences. Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, 11(2), 421-441.
Criminal Law. PATRIOT Act, Its Pros and Cons Essay
Aimed at reinforcing state security and protecting people against terrorism, the USA PATRIOT Act was created by Congress and signed by George W. Bush (U.S. Government Publishing Office 1). Although inspired by the best intentions of protecting U.S. citizens from the terrorist threat, the PATRIOT Act has its disadvantages. Therefore, amendments should be made to it so that it could meet the needs of the American population better.
The increased control over people’s lives executed by the state government can be considered one of the greatest problems of the PATRIOT Act. Since any person can be investigated by the state officials on the ground of security reasons, the current postulates of the PATRIOT Act might be in discord with the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the right to privacy (Cornell University Law School para. 3). Therefore, there is a consistent threat to the psychological comfort of American citizens.
Nonetheless, one must admit that the regulation serves its purpose impeccably. The PATRIOT Act does help improve the security rates in the United States, therefore, preventing instances of terrorism. Furthermore, the speed of responses to emergent threats has been increased significantly.
Cornell University Law School. n. d. Fourth Amendment. Web.
U.S. Government Publishing Office. USA PATRIOT Act. 2001. Web.
Counter-Terrorism and the Patriot Act Essay
Recent acts of terrorism have not escaped the notice of the department of homeland security. Through the Patriot’s Act, the United States uses the provisions of this law to fight terrorism. A major concern of late to the department of Homeland Security is domestic terrorism, combating terrorism via agencies such as the FBI; DEA has been effective to some extent.
The Patriot Act provides for the government to use as such resources as possible in combating terrorism, it also has provisions which allow for wider security actions by government agencies (Purpura, 2007).
The powers given to agencies such as the FBI allow them to conduct searches, surveillance without requiring a warrant. Therefore these agencies have been effective in identifying and eradicating terrorist groups within the United States.
The Patriot Act has several provisions covering on aspects such as cyber-terrorism, money laundering and border patrols. Through the Patriot Act, United States has been able to tighten security within the United States in all spheres.
The act has been effective in fighting terrorism, because provisions like the anti-money laundering has enabled the government to seize funds believed to be funding terror acts against the United States (Bullock, 2008). The Patriot Act has been successful in instilling a sense of patriotism and as a result many Americans have taken up the call to protect their country against acts of terrorism.
The drafting and implementation of the Patriot Act has been one of the most successful strategies in combating terrorism due to the underlying reasons that the United States is now more aware and prepared to fight terrorism (Smith, 2010).
Success of the Patriot Act
Concerns over the success of the Patriot Act has been a major discussion point recently, tradeoffs of the act can be looked at from various view points. In terms of security, the Patriot Act has been successful in reducing terror threats and attacks against the United States. Since the attacks of the twin towers, domestic acts of terror have reduced significantly.
However in terms of economy and cost, the implementation of the Patriot Act has been very costly with the government spending a lot of taxpayer’s funds on anti-terror programs (Smith, 2010). Businesses such as airlines had to adjust to tough screening measures and extra surveillance leading to increased operating costs in their operation.
These costs associated with the Patriot Act have raised concern especially in light of the world economic crunch. Human rights campaigners and justice departments are of the idea that the Patriot Act violates fundamental rights of Americans and therefore adjustments are necessary for its successful implementation.
The act of terrorism should be treated as an act of war; this is because terrorism leads to loss of innocent human beings. Acts of terror are usually targeted attacks on a particular group for the purposes of achieving some goals (Purpura, 2007).
Terrorism is not justified in the fact that most terror groups perform some of these acts under the guise of religion or politics. After the 11th September 2001 attacks, Muslims in the United States were targeted indiscriminately yet they were innocent and because of this terrorism should be defined as an act of war.
Acts of terrorism leads to instability and mistrust as relations between nations are destroyed, for instance relations between the United States and some Middle East nations have severed due to terrorism.
Bullock, J., Haddow, G., Coppola, D., & Yeletaysi S. (2008). Introduction to Homeland Security: Principles of All-Hazards Response. New York, NY: Butterworth- Heinemann.
Purpura, P. (2007). Terrorism and homeland security: an introduction with applications. Washington, WA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Smith, C., & Hung L. (2010). The Patriot Act: issues and controversies. Boston, MA: Charles C Thomas Publisher.
The Phenomenon of Patriotism in the Context of the U.S. War of Independence Research Paper
It is important to consider the phenomenon of patriotism in the context of the US War of Independence. The content of the word patriotism worried the minds of many famous thinkers and philosophers, however, there is no unequivocal opinion, its content is fully exhaustive, and cannot be fully determined. After all, each of them, can understand patriotism in highly different manner.
In the most general sense, the concept of patriotism expresses an emotional attitude towards one’s Fatherland — a feeling of love and devotion, pride, a desire to subordinate personal and group interests to national interests in difficult moments in the fate of the motherland, a willingness to serve it, to do everything possible for its prosperity and even sacrifice one’s life for its sake. This is the reason for the loyalty of British Americans during the war.
Patriots and Loyalty
The premises of patriotism are rooted in the depths of human nature itself. American-born British citizens became Patriots due to the fact that they changed alongside the local population. Thus, their views shifted towards the notions of freedom and democracy. The strongest factor in the formation of a sense of patriotism is the individual’s attachment to the land, with which a person is bound by strong bonds (Kamensky 2016). Since ancient times, the motherland for its inhabitant has been not only a source of subsistence, but also an integral part of his or her continuation. Thoroughly knowing all the secrets and vagaries of his motherland, included in its biological rhythms, an individual was a whole with it and was afraid to even imagine himself or herself outside his or her native land.
It should be noted that patriotism is characteristic not only, and not so much for nation-states, but also for multi-ethnic and multicultural societies. One of the classic examples of a multinational state is the United States of America. Exploring the reasons for the victory of the American revolution, which led to the formation of the United States, the question of loyalty is forced to be asked.
It was something that united representatives of different nationalities into a single nation – emigrants from Europe who were not interconnected either by a common past, or by family ties, or the centuries-old practice of traditions and customs. Historically, all 13 colonies of British America were very different from each other (Hoffer 2019). They differed not only in geographical and climatic conditions, but also in priority types of activity, social composition, way of life, specific traditions and religion, all of which made these colonies unique and inimitable.
However, contrary to their differences, the colonies also had common features. It allowed them to remain loyal to their cause in order to gain independence. Numerous geographical, economic, social and cultural factors created the prerequisites for the creation of a new state. To begin with, the colonies were compact. The population of English colonies differed in the heterogeneity of culture and religious beliefs, but the English language and common values created the conditions for the unity of all colonists.
The emigrants considered it appropriate to adopt the system of laws under which they had previously lived in their homeland, and to continue their connection with it. The colonists who left the Old World were in almost the same position., There was completely no sense of any superiority among emigrants over others (Shorto 2017). The bulk of these people who left their homeland were not the happiest and richest people. They were sent into exile, but poverty, just like adversity, is the best guarantee of equality between people in the world. The driving force of all these extraordinary people was the desire for freedom – religious, political, and cultural. At the root, it was a desire to get away from any form of dictatorship and tyranny.
By the beginning of the American Revolution, much had changed in the colonies of British America, where people themselves had changed. Americans on the eve of the revolution demonstrated certain achievements in trade, culture, and politics. This can be attributed to the neutrality, which was common among certain states. These were people who already had sufficient reasons to consider themselves the original inhabitants of the continent.
They owed all their achievements, first of all, to America – the land that sheltered their ancestors and gave hope for the future. It was with America that they linked their aspirations, undertakings and dreams. The catalyst in the process of the emergence of a new nation was the colonial policy of the metropolis itself. After the end of the seven-year war, one after another the economic acts of parliament followed, which aimed to establish complete control of the metropolis over the colonies.
An important principle of the functioning of the institutions of power to the leaders of the patriotic movement was representation. The problem of representation of the North American population in the power structures of the states of the Confederation arose during the War of Independence especially sharply as a result of the abolition of the old corporate system of distribution of deputies. Using this system, colonial legislatures determined the number of deputies who went to legislative assemblies from counties, cities and parishes of the country. The corporate system of representation was largely a reflection of the peculiarities of the mentality of a person of the new time, who, despite the development of individualistic attitudes, retained an orientation toward traditional community values.
It helped to preserve the power in the hands of wealthy elites, most of which were accumulated in the wealthy and old regions. They often had significant advantages in the number of deputies over the newer regions. This was supported by the widespread theory of property-based representation in England. The political elite of the North American colonies supported the position that property – the most important of natural human rights – cannot be sufficiently protected until the people who possess it dominate the state legislature (Shorto 2017). The disadvantage of the corporate system was that it was easy to manipulate in the interests of certain groups close to the authorities. In addition, a significant portion of the population of the colonies was not represented at all in the legislatures of North America.
It is important to consider the characteristic features of the new British colonial policy of 1763-1765 carried out during the Prime Minister’s stay, its consequences for the development of the North American colonies and its influence on the formation of the ideology of the patriotic movement. The signing of a peace treaty between Paris and England in Paris ended the seven-year war. At the same time, the king’s government, happy with a victory in a protracted conflict, experienced an extremely difficult financial crisis due to the enormous material costs of maintaining a large army.
To compensate for the damage caused to the state treasury by participating in the war, the English parliament, at the initiative of the prime minister, decided to impose new direct and indirect taxes on the population of 13 colonies. However, this measure had not only a specific pragmatic goal, but was one of the most important elements of the new course of the colonial policy of England.
The main content of this program was the establishment of close economic, political and cultural ties between England and its North American colonies. Rich in natural resources and minerals, possessing developed agriculture and industry, territories on the Atlantic coast were necessary for the stability and successful development of the British Empire. The British of this century smoked American tobacco, ate American sugar, cereals and fish, dressed in fabrics dyed by American dyes, and sailed on ships built from the American forest.
However, by the middle of the XVIII century the economic and cultural prosperity of the North American colonies was not only a source of profit for Great Britain. The unceasing struggle for power and spheres of influence between the British governors and local legislative assemblies, and more and more often flared uprisings against the colonial administration, testified to the deep crisis that hit the empire.
However, in the later periods, British colonial empire was on the verge of collapse. The Prime Minister began to energetically lead the policy of strengthening the colonial administration. In the years 1763-1764, the number of the British army in the North American colonies increased. In response to the complaints of the commander-in-chief of the British troops in the colonies, who had difficulty in providing the army because of the hostility of the Americans, the parliament began discussing a bill on billeting, which would allow troops to live in civilian homes during military operations.
At the same time, customs reform was carried out and the law of the English parliament ordered customs officers in the colonies to conduct a mandatory inspection of all merchant ships and to bring to justice the sailors who smuggled in their ships. The number of customs officers increased, and most of them began to make up visitors from the metropolis (Taylor 2016). Local officials did not want or could not enter into confrontation with the wealthy colonial bourgeoisie profiting from smuggling.
As a reaction to oppression in the colonies, the anti-colonial movement for freedom and equality of rights of the colonists begins to unfold, and the appearance of a patriotic organization dates back to 1765. The northern part of the colonial America was more likely to be radicalized compared to other southern states due to their common struggles. Patriot leaders, the colonial press, communications committees took an organizational role and called on the colonists to combat the illegal exploitation and discrimination of the colonists, for the equal rights of the British and Americans, and a boycott of British goods.
The platform of patriots found a lot of support among the widest sections of the population (Kamensky 2016). The conflict began to acquire a nationwide character and the leading idea in speeches of patriots, resolutions of local assemblies, in the dreams and hearts of Americans was the idea of a struggle for the rights and freedoms of American colonists from unjust decrees of the mother country.
A truly significant event in history was the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The social and philosophical provisions of the Declaration on the Equality of the Natural Rights of People, on a social contract between the government and citizens, on the right of the people to depose an autocratic government that infringes on the interests of the people, formed the spiritual unity of people, fighting for social harmony to become a reality.
After signing the document, Washington addressed the soldiers and officers of the American army, urging the patriots to take their duty seriously and to mobilize all their forces in the fight against the formidable enemy (Hoffer 2019). The American army demonstrated high morale and the war for US independence brought many Americans of different social status and origin to the forefront. However, all of them, regardless of their past, are related by the all-consuming love of the motherland, their sincere desire to serve him and even their willingness to give their lives for this place.
In conclusion, the unification of Americans under the banner of the struggle for rights and freedoms ensured a favorable outcome for America. People have never shown such political activity before and its growth was stimulated by the conviction of the righteousness of the common cause to protect their land and property, rights and freedoms. Over time, the history of the American Revolution began to take on a romantic halo, its heroes became a legend, ideal and subject to admiration.
Many holidays and traditions come from the history of the American Revolution. Stories about the lives of heroes, famous aphorisms, memorials, places of military glory of the American army and even images of US presidents on dollar bills are the main means of educating the patriotic spirit in America. There is reason to believe that patriotism, which is one of the main components of the American mentality, has grown on the basis of the value of freedom, which was extremely actualized during the years of the War of Independence.
Hoffer, Peter Charles. 2019. Law and People in Colonial America. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Kamensky, Jane. 2016. A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley. NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Shorto, Russell. 2017. Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom. NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Taylor, Alan. 2016. American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. NY: W. W. Norton & Company.