It is probably no accident that Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) was a life-long American patriot. He was the nephew of Edward Everett, renowned orator and statesman. And his father, Nathan Hale, was the namesake and nephew of Nathan Hale, executed by the British for espionage during the Revolutionary War and famous for his last words: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
As a Unitarian minister in Boston, as Chaplain in the United States Senate, and as a prolific writer of essays and short fiction, Edward Hale was a devoted activist, championing especially the causes of the abolition of slavery and the advancement of public education. “The Man without a Country,” his most famous story, was published anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly, during the terrible days of Civil War, in 1863, the same year that President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Watch editors Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass converse with guest host Wilfred McClay (University of Tennessee–Chattanooga) about the story. For a discussion guide and more, visit whatsoproudlywehail.org/curriculum/the-meaning-of-america/national-identity-and-why-it-matters.