There are many “isms” that are or have been subscribed to in recent history including fascism, Nazism, socialism, and communism. One “ism” that hasn’t received as much attention as an “ism” is Americanism.

What exactly is Americanism? Teddy Roosevelt said, “Americanism is a question of spirit, of conviction and purpose, not creed or birthplaces.” The VFW says in part “it is an unfailing love of America, a loyalty to its ideal and principals, a desire to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity.”

Americanism is basically a love of America, its founding principles, and the fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all whether they happen to be Americans or those who seek to be free wherever they may be.

One group that has been promoting Americanism is the American Legion. A service organization started by veterans of the 1st World War who were deeply concerned that the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia might spill into the United States.

In fact, communist recruiters were already pitching their ideology to young Americans including troops still stationed in Europe after the war.

The American Legion was early and firm in its opposition to anti-democracy ideologies; they had fought “to make the world safe for democracy.” To the founders of the Legion, the best kind of “ism” was Americanism.

Racism, another hot topic these days, was specifically denounced by the early Legion, which passed a resolution in 1923 that remains on the books and condemns any individual, group or organization that “creates or fosters racial, religious or class strife among our people, or which takes into their own hands the enforcement of the law, determination of guilt, or infliction of punishment, to be un-American, a menace to our liberties and destructive to our fundamental law.”

Exactly 100 years ago the American Legion formed an alliance with the National Education Association (yes, believe it or not, that NEA) in 1921 to develop an educational program “which will make all, whether native or foreign-born, good American citizens.” 

So when you hear about systemic racism, ask what system are they talking about. Certainly not the American system. When you’re told how great one of the “we are the world isms” is, compare it to the true meaning of Americanism and see how it holds up. There is only one true “ism” that is by the people and for the people that stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s Americanism!

**Read the full story on how the American Legion formed to promote Americanism and continue the selfless work they started on the battlefields of Europe to defend freedom from tyranny and make America a better place for all.