The Myth of American Exceptionalism Essay

The Myth of American Exceptionalism Essay

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American exceptionalism is a term suggesting that America was the best or superior; it was a term saying that it was different than any other place. Winthrop talks about the city upon the hill, which suggests America being a model or setting an example for other countries. We were supposed to be a beacon of liberty and freedom. During the founding of America, America was different than any other place. At its founding America was exceptional because it was different in the way people interacted with each other, different in the way the government worked, and different in its aspirations. The ideology of America has changed making it where America is no longer exceptional.
One of the ideologies of America was that the best government was a small government. Our country was founded by settlers who wanted to get out of the grasp of Great Britain rule. These settlers wanted to have the natural rights that they felt were guaranteed to them by god. The Declaration of Independence was written to declare that the thirteen colonies were claiming themselves as independent states. Then U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were written. These important papers spell out freedoms guaranteed to Americans and the laws that protect those freedoms. They talk of a government that works for the people.
For a nation that is built on the concept of freedoms it is sad that America was one of the last places to illegalize slavery. Even after declaring slavery illegal Jim Crowe laws restricted the freedoms of anyone that wasn’t white. America kept Japanese people in concentration camps under the guise that they were a threat against or safety and freedom. It was easy to justify taking someone else’s freedom away by making sure America knew they were atta...


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...e same to the Japanese. America is a nation built of immigrants but America even limited who could come to America. Not letting in races they saw as trouble, or mentally ill people who might tarnish the exceptionalism. We are a nation that hails the Bill of Rights as one of the greatest documents. People don’t seem to realize how many of those guaranteed freedoms have been altered by a government that no longer works for the people. It can be argued that every nation probably feels that they are the exceptional one. It is easy to see why so many American feel that America is the greatest, because it is something that we have been told our entire lives. If we look at America through the lenses that have been provided for us then America really is the best and superior. If those glasses are removed it is easily seen that American exceptionalism is nothing but a myth.


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