American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States is different from other countries in that it has a specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. In this view, America’s exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming “the first new nation,” and developing a uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism and populism. This observation can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as “exceptional” in 1831 and 1840. Historian Gordon Wood has argued, “Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era. So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy.”
The specific term “American exceptionalism” was first used in Russian 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin chastising members of the Lovestone-led faction of the American Communist Party for their heretical belief that America was independent of the Marxist laws of history “thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions.” American Communists then started using the English translation in factional fights.
Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many neoconservative and American conservative writers have promoted its use in that sense. To them, the United States is like the biblical “shining city on a hill,” and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.
Note the focus on spreading liberty and democracy. If democracy implies a duty on the part of politicians to listen to voters, then it is clear that the “spreading liberty and democracy” does NOT include spreading it to U.S. citizens abroad. On the issue of “liberty”, U.S. citizens abroad are “Form Slaves” who live in constant fear of committing “Form Crime“. On the issue of democracy well: Continue reading