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Is the United States exceptional? Show more Show less

American Exceptionalism is a pervasive force in the United States. Since the founding Americans have believed themselves to be freer than the other nations of the globe. It is a philosophy which can been seen on both the political right and left in the United States. This exceptionalism has given Americans a feeling of almost divine mission, but is it in any way justified?

Yes, America is exceptional Show more Show less

The United States has a particular identity and historical context of revolution, expansion and development which makes it exceptional.
(1 of 3 Positions) Next >

American history is distinct from the rest of the world's

The way that America's history has unfolded means that it is clearly distinct from other nations.
(1 of 3 Arguments) Next >


The Argument

American history is different from that of other nations because its revolution is exceptional. The United States was the first nation to be built on popular sovereignty and the first to not frame its national identity in a celebration of monarchical or aristocratic authority. Rather, the United States was founded on the natural rights of the individual and a patriotism based on belief in ones fellow man.

Counter arguments

The United States is not the only nation that defined itself as Republican even in the eighteenth century. For instance, the Netherlands or Italian city-states.



[P1] The American Revolution brings forward a new conception of what a nation can be founded on. [P2] This history makes the United States Exceptional.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] This conception of what nations can be founded on is not unique to the US.


Further Reading


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    This page was last edited on Friday, 6 Mar 2020 at 09:12 UTC