The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, “My country, right or wrong.” In one sense I say so too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.Carl Schurz (1829-1906) German-American revolutionary, soldier, statesman, reformer
Speech, US Senate (29 Feb 1872)
Schurz expanded on the theme in a speech delivered to the Anti-Imperialistic Conference, Chicago (17 Oct 1899): "I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves [...] too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: 'Our country, right or wrong!' They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: 'Our country -- when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.'"