When the Puritans established their colony in Massachusetts, they intended their settlements to be “a city upon a hill” for those back in England to emulate. In the process, the Puritans created the most egalitarian society and planted the seeds for American democracy. The concept of American exceptionalism — America as an exceptional country — uniquely different from others– has always been part of the American experience from the time of the Puritans to the present day, and Americans take great pride in proclaiming that heritage to the rest of the world. The concept of American exceptionalism is what has propelled America from being the backwoods of European society in 1776 to become the most powerful and wealthiest nation mankind has ever seen. 

But some people are skeptical of this notion because they argue American exceptionalism has blinded us from reality and puts us in danger. President Obama has face criticism for downplaying the notion of American exceptionalism and his opposition sees this as weak leadership that has caused the decline of America. In response to the conservatives’ criticism of “being anti-patriotic,” there is now an effort to revamp the concept of “American exceptionalism” in the AP History curriculum (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to highlight the achievements of America and doing so will “make America great again!”

Where do you stand on this topic of American exceptionalism?

Review Assigned Readings:

To familiarize you with the topic of American exceptionalism, we will use The Facts on Files: Issues and Controversies database available through the Mission Library website (same login as Canvas) so please visit and review the assigned sources below:

  1. “Issue Overview: American Exceptionalism.” Issues & Controversies (Links to an external site.)
  2. “Is the United States Exceptional Among the World’s Nations?” Issues & Controversies, 9 May 2011. (Links to an external site.)

Topic Reply:

After reviewing the assigned readings for this discussion, you will provide a topic reply (minimum of 500 words that support, defend, and explain your position to the following question: “is the U.S. exceptional among world’s nations ?” 

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