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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.
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Visitors to the US see a distinct American character

Even those viewing the United States from the outside have identified the ways in which American character is exceptional.
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The Argument

French traveller Alexis de Tocqueville noted in his travelogue of the United States that Americans were exceptional compared to Europeans. Americans were, for de Tocqueville, more concerned with their nation’s future than other people. Americans “care about their country’s interests as though they were their own," and "feel for their homeland a feeling analogous to what a man feels for his family." They were more concerned with matters of law and government, de Tocqueville believed, than his own countrymen.[1] Democratic society, de Tocqueville argued, had created a new and exceptional connection between the people and their government.

Counter arguments



[P1] Even those observing the United States from outside have identified its exceptionalism.

Rejecting the premises


Further Reading



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This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Apr 2020 at 11:05 UTC