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"Is America Exceptional?". Essay

887 words - 4 pages

"Is America Exceptional?"The concept of American exceptionalism has divergent views which areconstructed by American and foreign historians, alike. The topic is, what makes Americaunique from other countries? What makes us, as Americans, precedent from other peoplein the world? This is an issue tackled specifically by Seymour Martin Lispet and Ian Tyrellin Take Sides. Lipset defends American exceptionalism, while Tyrell argues with it.Seymour Martin Lipset reaffirms the nation of American exceptionalism byinsisting that the United States is the only nation that defines itself on thebasis of an ideology... Ian Tyrell argues that American exceptionalism is anartificial construct that is largely anachronistic in the modern world orinternationalism and global connections.After reading the two viewpoints, I came to the conclusion that even though Lispet doesaffirm American exceptionalism, so does Tyrell. The two viewpoint cannot be compared inthe same way, but soley on the topic of exceptionalism. Personally I thought that Lipset'sargument way a more terse one, however Tyrell's argument was more practical, and it washis viewpoint that I agreed with... American is not exceptional.Seymour Martin Lipset, a professor of public policy introduced the United Statesas a "one of a kind" nation because of it origins and because, statistically, American is"more religious, optimistic, patriotic, rights-oriented, and individualistic than other nationin the world." (Taking Sides, 2) He claims, that in order for someone to considersomeplace exceptional, they must travel and collect data on other cultures. "Those whoknow only one country, know no country." (Lipset, 4) Lipset uses Alexis de Toqueville, aFrench aristocrat, who has written a numerous pieces of literature defending Americanexceptionalism. Toqueville is considered to be the father of the ideology of Americanexceptionalism. He came to American in the 1830's to witness how, exactly, wereAmericans so successful at setting up a democracy after their revolution versus countrieslike France, and Japan. Toqueville describes American Creed to be "liberty, egalitarianism,individualism, populism, and laissez-faire. " (Lipset, 5) Toqueville notes that egalitarianismis a result of the "new nation's" lack of ranks and caste systems (i.e. monarchies,aristocracies, and feudal structures). The United Sates mystified the difference in ranks,(i.e. clergy men, judges, etc.), while other countries in Europe and Asia are more aware onplacing emphasis on "obediences o political authority.Ian Tyrell, a history professor criticizes the ideology of American exceptionalism.He does believe that this nation is exceptional, but in a transnational way. He defends thatevery country is, in fact, exceptional. Japan, for instance, is a place that our part of theworld could never compare to because of it's individual traits and events that took place init's history. The same goes for places like Germany and/or France, where even thoughmany...

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