Origins of Sayings - Our Country, Right or Wrong

About the history and origins behind the famous saying our country, right or wrong.

Stories behind Famous Sayings


Who Said It: Stephen Decatur

When: 1816

The Story behind It: The speaker was naval hero Stephen Decatur, who had accepted an invitation to a banquet being held in his honor at Norfolk, Va. Many patriotic toasts were made, but Decatur's stood out: "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong." In 1872, Sen. Carl Schurz of Missouri paraphrased Decatur: "Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right." English author G.K. Chesterton had this to say: "My country, right or wrong is like saying, my mother, drunk or sober."

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