lee asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

What is the concept of American Exceptionalism?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Actually, Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine could better be described as a product of the idea of American Exceptionalism, rather an explanation of it.

    The term was coined by Alexis de Tocqueville, and it basically refers to the idea that America is somehow unique among nations, that we are morally and/or politically and/or economically and/or philosophically superior to all other countries.

    Ironically, other countries at the height of their power also had this sense that somehow they were just better than everybody else. Examples of this would be the Roman Empire, the British Empire, Revolutionary France, and of course Nazi Germany.

    This idea that certain countries are "better" than everybody else has led a desire by those countries to expand their areas of control, so as to bring "enlightenment" to all the other benighted muckers in the world.

    Unfortunately, this same criticism can, and has, been levelled at the US, and Manifest Destiny is just one manifestation of this idea. Everything from the "civilizing", or else slaughter, of Native American tribes, going all the way back to Colonial times, up through the current adventure of bringing the wonders of American-style Democracy and market economics to Iraq, can be attributed to the American tendency to think of themselves as exceptional.

  • ny21tb
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Manifest Destiny and, to a smaller degree, The Monroe Doctrine.

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