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1. Exceptionalism became a defense in the Cold War in the 1950s, signifying a national accountability to lead the forces of the Free World in the containment of Soviet supremacy. The terrorist events of September 11, 2001 strengthened the rhetoric of exceptionalism as a multipurpose description for the attacks (“they hate us because we are free”) and a new-fangled sense of American mission, now acknowledged with the global war on terror.
2. In the 1950s, historians defined the American Revolution as a modest constitutional discussion among the cultured elite, quite dissimilar from the class-based ferocity of revolutionary France and Russia, or Third World revolutions controlled by socialists. As the historian Herbert Bolton criticized many years ago, by treating the American past in separation from the rest of the world, historians were serving to increase up a nation of racist.
3. The impression of American exceptionalism was assembled into our culture. It has always been associated to the idea of freedom. The identification of the United States as a exclusive incarnation of liberty in a world overrun by tyranny goes back to the American Revolution. Tom Paine, in his clarion call for independence, Common Sense, called America an “asylum for mankind,” a place where people fleeing Old World tyranny could find freedom
4. During the nineteenth century, American exceptionalism was appealed by home-grown critics, such as abolitionists, who declared the United States was not living up to its acknowledged values, and by the European Left, who positioned the image of an incomparable nation where workers relished political privileges and economic opportunity as a weapon against the status where in their countries. Others most famously Werner Sombart cited the high American usual of living to explain the virtual weakness of socialism related to early twentieth-century Europe.
5. To a significant grade, the spirit of American exceptionalism–a nation state with a special job to bring freedom to all mankind depends on the “strangeness” of the outside world, so often spoken in the Manichean categories of New World versus Old or free world vs slave.
6. The knowledge of American exceptionalism brings with it strong pride in the freedoms Americans enjoy. But general, the persistent claim for exceptionalism goes along with national hubris and closed-mindedness and giveaways a reason for ignorance about the rest of the world. Subsequently the United States is so exceptional, there is no point in learning about other civilizations, as their antiquities have no bearing on ours.
7. Historians have assisted and encouraged this narrow-mindedness. Conceivably the most unique idea ever developed by an American historian was Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis, which enlightened the country’s apparently unique features–political democracy, self-reliant individualism–as the creation of the struggle to pacify the West. Cold War academics provided historical reasoning, segregating “good” from “bad” revolutions.
8. The history of every country is to some level unique, and the solution to American exceptionalism is not to standardize the whole past into an only global history. But the organizations, developments, and morals that have shaped American history, between them the increase of capitalism, the spread of political democracy, the increase and decrease of slavery, and global labor relocations, can only be understood in a comprehensive background.
9. One authentic appearance of American exceptionalism–the principle, implanted in the Fourteenth Amendment, that anyone born in the United States is inevitably a citizen, irrespective of the status of the parents is now under assault by the very fundamentalists who so persuasively proclaim their devotion to the exceptionalism example.
10. American exceptionalism was, in effect, the joyful belief that these tendencies strengthened each other. That was not a reliable idea for an African-American who received his Ph.D. from Harvard one year before the Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson that endorsed “separate but equal” treatment of the races.