American Exceptionalism: the Belief That the United States Differs

Topics: United States, Race and Ethnicity, North America Pages: 1 (378 words) Published: October 26, 2008
American Exceptionalism refers to the belief that the United States differs from the other developed nations, because of its national credo, historical evolution, or distinctive political and religious institutions. The concept was first used in respect of the United States by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831 in his work Democracy in America. There are three generic varieties of American exceptionalism. 1. Super naturalist explanations which emphasize the causal potency of God in selecting America as a “City on a hill” to serve as an example for the rest of the World. 2. Genetic Interpretations which emphasize racial traits, ethnicity, or gender. 3. Enviromental explanations such as geography, climate, availability of natural Resources, social structure, and type of political economy. The basis most commonly cited for American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States and its people differ from no are superior to most nations as an association of people who came from numerous places throughout the world but who hold a common bond in belief in certain values, like democracy, the rule of law, civil liberty, the common good, fair play, human rights, private property, and Constitutional governments; and that through these values America diverged from the rest of the world during its early years. It us used by United States citizens to indicate that America and Americans have different states of mind, different surroundings and different political cultures than other nations. Others use it to refer to the American dream. The journey of the people of the United States ,sharing a nation and a destiny, to build a more perfect union , to live up to the dreams, hopes, and ideals of its founders. American exceptionalism as a phenomenon means difference from other nations, not superiority over them. Today the United States consists of citizens of many ethnicities such as Native American, English, African, Scottish, Welsh, French, German, Irish,...
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