Interpretations of American Exceptionalism Term Paper by Nicky

A discussion on the concept of American Exceptionalism and its many interpretations.
# 151152 | 1,120 words | 3 sources | APA | 2012 | US

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The paper discusses how the concept of American Exceptionalism is attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville who believed that the special political nature and social history of America had given it a unique place in the destiny of nations. The paper considers the many interpretations of the term "Exceptionalism" but also discusses how events in America's history seriously clash with its "pure values" or its belief that it is a world liberator. The paper then explains that America has always chosen to correct itself and take responsibility for its own actions, and this is what makes America unique and exceptional in relation to other countries.

From the Paper:

"There are many interpretations of the term Exceptionalism. Some are of the view that it is something aligned with the concept of Manifest Destiny and hence they fiercely argue against such a notion. Tocqueville did not however believe that exceptional destiny of America was connected with power or might. Instead, after studying its history, he had come to the conclusion that America had faced a unique social and political destiny since its discovery and the concepts like liberty, individualism and laissez faire made it even more unique because it essentially showed that America had not been under monarchies or feudalism.
"Economic or social destiny is however not the only thing that sets America apart from other countries. Some people argue that America is an exceptional country because of its Puritanical influence on various events. It is therefore seen as a liberator of evil- a role that America has taken seriously since earliest times. From the Civil war that abolished slavery to the First and Second World Wars where America stepped in only to protect some other nations from foreign attacks though its own waters were relatively safe. Then a series of events occurred including some of the very recent wars that sealed the political destiny of America."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • James A. Morone.(2004) Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History (Paperback) Yale University Press
  • Deborah L. Madsen. (1998) American Exceptionalism. University Press of Mississippi
  • Seymour Martin Lipset. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword (Paperback)W.W. Norton & Co. (April 17, 1997)

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Interpretations of American Exceptionalism (2012, May 24) Retrieved March 02, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Interpretations of American Exceptionalism" 24 May 2012. Web. 02 March. 2024. <>