Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr. (5 January 1779 – 22 March 1820) was an American naval officer, notable for his heroism in actions at Tripoli, Libya in the Barbary Wars and in the War of 1812.
- Our country – In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right, and always successful, right or wrong.
- Toast at a dinner in Norfolk, Virginia (April 1816) reported in Niles' Weekly Register (Baltimore, Maryland) 20 April 1816; as cited in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (2010), Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, p. 70
- Variant: Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
- [emphasis added] This widely quoted version is attributed in Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, Life of Stephen Decatur: A Commodore in the Navy of the United States (1846), C. C. Little and J. Brown, p. 443.
- This statement produced the famous slogan "My country, right or wrong!" which itself produced famous responses by:
- Carl Schurz (if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right)"
- Schurz, Carl, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872, The Congressional Globe, vol. 45, p. 1287. See Wikisource for the complete speech.