American Exceptionalism

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, United States, Nationalism Pages: 2 (729 words) Published: April 18, 2006
The term "American Exceptionalism" refers to the historical perception of the United States as an inherently idiosyncratic nation, because of its unique origins, national principles, historical evolution, distinguishing political and religious institutions. It is an ethnocentric idea that places the United States and the American people at a special place in the world by offering opportunity and hope for humanity and uniquely balancing public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedom. It is also seen as the presence of traits unique to the United States, such as the tradition of individualism, the failure of socialist parties, and high levels of religiosity. Some interpret the term to indicate a moral superiority of Americans, while others use it to refer to the American concept of itself as an exceptional ideal, which is not necessarily upheld by the people and government of the nation. Others claim "American exceptionalism" is common ethnocentrism and merely propaganda that justifies a chauvinistically America-centered view of the world. American exceptionalism also refers to some case of American uniqueness without implying that an innate superiority of Americans resulted in the development of that uniqueness. While uniqueness does not imply superiority, I do think that our privileged nation has established itself as a global force because of the power it has been able to assert and the reverence other nations have for the American way of life, which has made it superior in some senses. While American exceptionalism in some ways argues an innately distinctive and individual status, I believe it to be a prominence developed throughout the course of United States history, rooted in the original colonization by the Puritans, furthered by the American Revolution and immigration, and maintained in our political stability. Puritans were not only the founders of the nations as a whole, but the mother of...
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