Study Guide

The Killer Angels Patriotism

By Michael Shaara

Patriotism

The Confederates and the Union soldiers have pretty different ideas about patriotism, and The Killer Angels is all about presenting all sides of the argument. The Union supporters are loyal to the federal government, to President Lincoln and his belief that the founders intended America to remain one country. The Confederates are loyal to their states, their families, and to a certain way of life—a way of life founded on slavery, of course, but one people were attached to because it's what they grew up with and what they understood. So who's right? What is patriotism?

Questions About Patriotism

  1. Is the Union's version of patriotism the main form of patriotism in America today? Are there still traces of the Confederate version?
  2. What do you think about the Confederate perspective? How did the Confederates think about themselves and their own beliefs?
  3. How do people express patriotism today? Can patriotism ever go too far?

Chew on This

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." – Thomas Jefferson

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." – Samuel Johnson

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