Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wikipedia's Definition of "American Exceptionalism"
American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States is "qualitatively different" from other nations.[2] In this view, America's exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming what political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset called "the first new nation"[3] and developing a uniquely American ideology, "Americanism", based on liberty,egalitarianismindividualismrepublicanismpopulism and laissez-faire.[4] This ideology itself is often referred to as "American exceptionalism."[4]
Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many neoconservative and American conservative writers have promoted its use in that sense.[4][5] To them, the United States is like the biblical shining "City upon a Hill", and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.[6]
The theory of exceptionalism can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as "exceptional" in 1831 and 1840.[7] The term "American exceptionalism" has been in use since at least the 1920s and saw more common use after Soviet leaderJoseph Stalin chastised members of the Jay Lovestone-led faction of the American Communist Party for their heretical belief that America was independent of the Marxist laws of history "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions". American Communists started using the English term "American exceptionalism" in factional fights. It then moved into general use among intellectuals.[8][9]