What is American Exceptionalsim?

By Matty on 12:25 PM
If you want to know what I think of the theory of American Exceptionalism, see the post following this one. Here is a definition from Wikipedia.org.

American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States and the American people hold a special place in the world, by offering opportunity and hope for humanity, derived from a unique balance of public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedom. Political science defines it as presence of unique traits in the United States, such as high levels of religiosity and the failure of socialist parties, that do not correlate with national characteristics in communist countries .

Some interpret the term to indicate a moral superiority of Americans, while others use it to refer to the American concept as itself an exceptional ideal, which may or may not always be upheld by the actual people and government of the nation. Dissenters claim "American exceptionalism" is little more than crude propaganda, that in essence is a justification for a America-centered view of the world that is inherently chauvinistic and jingoistic in nature. Historians and political scientists may use the term to simply refer to some case of American uniqueness without implying that an innate superiority of Americans resulted in the development of that uniqueness.

This is a great entry at Wikipedia.org. Be sure to read the sections following the above definition. The sections are:
  • In Historical Context
  • Land
  • The American Revolution
  • Arguments for American Exceptionalism
  • Arguments Against American Exceptionalsim

I love America with all my heart. But American Exceptionalism--especially in the hands of neo-cons and fundamentalist Protestants--is dangerous and explosive. It may very well lead to the downfall of this great country.


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