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
The United States has a particular identity and historical context of revolution, expansion and development which makes it exceptional.
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.Explore
American character is distinct
The creation of the United States caused its people to have unique values and characteristics.Explore
Visitors to the United States have identified a distinct American character
Even those viewing the United States from the outside have identified the ways in which American character is exceptional.Explore
No, America is not exceptional
America being exceptional is a national myth which is inconsistent with the reality of global history.
American exceptionalism is a national myth
All nations have a myth about why they are special or distinct. Exceptionalism is the American version.Explore
American history exists in a global context
The United States is not immune to larger tides and trends in global history. Events in American history fit in a much wider global context.Explore
Yes, America is exceptional but not necessarily in a good way
America has many characteristics that make it stand out
America's somewhat self-congratulatory portrait of itself and largely unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism is not necessarily an opinion shared by other countries.Explore
America has exceptional statistics across a number of social, health and welfare areas