Analysis of the Term “American Exceptionalism” in the Current U.S. Culture

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Analysis of the
Term “American Exceptionalism” in the Current U.S. Culture
A Reflections Paper

Analysis of the
Term “American Exceptionalism” in the Current U.S. Culture American Exceptionalism refers to the idea that the United States is significantly different from other countries. The concept has origins in the writings of French scholar Alexis de Toqueville who made observations during his visit to America in the nineteenth century (Mansfield, 2011). Also, Puritan John Winthrop's 1630 sermon "A Model of Christian Charity" led to the widespread belief in American folklore that the United States of America is God's country because it would become a "city upon a hill", watched by the world (John Winthrop: "A Modell of Christian Charity", 2007). Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many political leaders and writers have coined its use in that sense. Naturally, others hold the position that America is not really exceptional at all. In fact, after taking a cursory glance at some of the issues that our leaders are charged to correct, we can easily peel off the loftier label and replace it with a more humbling phrase. To begin, America’s hunger issue is a strong reason to reduce our loftier standing. It is not impressive that in a country without drought or famine and with enough food and money to feed the world twice over 1-in-8 of our own people struggle to put food on its table (Berg, 2009). Also, in 2010, 4.8 percent of all U.S. households (5.6 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times (Hunger & Poverty Statistics). Reducing these numbers will be an exceptional task. The crime problem in the U.S. also keeps the country from meriting a prouder classification over other nations. One cause is its readiness to lock up its citizens. Consider that one American adult in 100 is behind bars…...

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