February 25

New World Order

Monday’s Big Idea

American Exceptionalism

Early European observers of America, notably Alexis de Tocqueville, saw the U.S. as uniquely different. Unlike de Tocqueville's France, for instance, America had no experience with Feudalism, and therefore did not have the hierarchies in place that governed the social structure of the Old World.

In today's lesson, a panel of experts explore how the concept of American Exceptionalism is often misunderstood. While the idea of America as a country of self-made and self-reliant individuals is central to our understanding of ourselves, it is a mistake for us to believe this automatically makes us the best. That attitude, experts like David Gergen, Chris Matthews and Lisa New argue, leads to the idea of American triumphalism, the idea that the U.S. must serve as "the world's policeman."

 

  1. 1 Is America Out of Gas?
  2. 2 Matt Miller on Whether America Ex...
  3. 3 Eric Foner on Understanding Our H...
  4. 4 David Rieff Eulogizes American Ex...
   
  1. Is America Out of Gas?

    Is America Out of Gas?

    Is American Exceptionalism "the old whiskey bottle we pull off the shelf when we're feeling down?"

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  2. Matt Miller on Whether America Exceptionalism is Still Alive

    Matt Miller on Whether America Exceptionalism is Still Alive

    The author talks about reframing how we see ourselves vis-à-vis the globe.

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  3. Eric Foner on Understanding Our History

    Eric Foner on Understanding Our History

    The author says it is in our best interest to be well-acquainted with our history and outlines a few ways to achieve this in our schools.

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  4. David Rieff Eulogizes American Exceptionalism

    David Rieff Eulogizes American Exceptionalism

    The author says many chapters in the American progress narrative have already concluded.

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