How American Exceptionalism Works

By: Dave Roos

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Author's Note: How American Exceptionalism Works

In President Barack Obama's final State of the Union speech in 2016, he stated, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism". The difference, and I suspect the reason why American exceptionalism is a topic of global political concern, is America's outsized influence on the world. Perhaps it's less important of America's values and system of government are truly unique on the face of Earth, and more important that we use our very conspicuous position for good. Interestingly, when Donald Trump was asked on the campaign trail what he thought of American exceptionalism, he responded, "I don't think it's a very nice term... I think you're insulting the world." Maybe our politics aren't as divided as we think.

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