What Patriotism Means to Me

Everyone likes to throw around "patriotism" as if it actually means something.  The fact that it does not makes it that much more useful I guess.  Consider this:

From Wikipedia for Patriot (American Patriot):
Patriots (also known as RebelsRevolutionariesCongress-Men or American Whigs) were those colonists of the British Thirteen United Colonies that violently rebelled against British control during the American Revolution and in July 1776 declared the United States of Americaan independent nation. Their rebellion was based on the political philosophy of republicanism, as expressed by pamphleteers, such as Thomas JeffersonAlexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine.
But just plain old "Patriot":
patriot is someone who feels a strong support for his or her country. See also Patriotism.
Hmmm...Those seem to be opposite things.  Wouldn't it have been more "patriotic" for the "American Patriots" to have supported what the "sovereigns" of their period would have considered "their country"?

I wonder which form of patriotism my teachers were using when I was asked to write essays about in high school?

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