Proud to Be an American: Perceptions of American Patriotism Portrayed Through Captain America Comic Books, 1941-2009
Timothy A. Boyer
Brigham Young University
Published in Historia: the Alpha Rho Papers, Vol II.
Patriotism, while easily defined as “love of one’s country” is not easily quantified. Patriotism is neither constant through space nor is it constant through time. Simply put, what constitutes patriotism depends on who is defining it. The United States of America has often been described as being a patriotic country and yet the idea of Patriotism continues to be a divisive and controversial ideal in America. One of the United States of America’s greatest symbols of patriotism in popular culture is Captain America. Created during the World War II, Captain America has defined patriotism for the youth of America, not only reflecting ideas of popular patriotism, but in ways shaping them. This paper seeks to analyze changing perceptions of patriotism since World War II through Captain America comic books. This will not only demonstrate where patriotism has come, but demonstrate the divisiveness of patriotism throughout United States history, how patriotism has be constantly reinvented throughout United States history, and where patriotism may be headed during the post-911 world.