American Exceptionalism Essay by Poli Sci Guy

American Exceptionalism
An analysis of the concept of American exceptionalism according to Max Weber's "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism."
# 99698 | 946 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2005 | US

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This is a short essay on the idea of "American exceptionalism," which focuses on the work of Max Weber. It discusses Weber's text "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" and looks at the importance of capitalism as an ideology and how it creates a utilitarian society. The paper also describes how the US and its idea of capitalism differed from Europe and the importance of a capitalist ideology in the founding of America. Finally, the paper discusses how the US was able to flourish because of its revolutionary capitalist ideas. The paper uses footnotes but does not append a bibliography.

From the Paper:

"What makes America unique is that it was founded, devised, and intended as the land of opportunity, where hard work and personal initiative could result in economic prosperity and upward social mobility. It is the land without the constraints of a king or baron, or an unrepresentative, repressive government. The United States was the first country to flourish under the banner of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and became a model to the outside world. Because of this unique history, Americans have evolved as a nation confident of the ideal of "American Exceptionalism," in which the nation sees itself as not only different from the rest of the world, but as a "city upon a hill," which should act as a guiding light for all of civilization. Max Weber, in his book "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," correctly attributes this American belief to what he refers to as "modern capitalism." It is this capitalist ideology which originated in the United States that is responsible for the idea of "American exceptionalism.""

Sample of Sources Used:

  • John Winthrop, A model of Christian Charity, in The American Studies Anthology, ed. Richard Horowitz (Lanham: Scholarly Resources Inc., 2001), 18.
  • Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in The American Studies Anthology, ed. Richard Horowitz (Lanham: Scholarly Resources Inc., 2001).

Cite this Essay:

APA Format

American Exceptionalism (2007, November 23) Retrieved September 24, 2023, from

MLA Format

"American Exceptionalism" 23 November 2007. Web. 24 September. 2023. <>