American Exceptionalism is a theory according to which the United States occupy a special position among the developed industrial nations. All subsystems of American society – such as constitution, politics, economics, law, social system, religion nature and the cross-societal system of values (ideology) – could be therefore explained by US-specific factors that would result from the particular history of the country.
The late settlement by European immigrants, whose political, economic, and religious self-liberation from colonialism (American Revolution), which gives it a status of a pioneering nation in the modern, secular democracy, with the slavery and its subsequent abolition related to the socio-historical developments and the fact that on the United States mainland there has been no war since the Civil War.
American Exceptionalism includes the idea that the United States and the American people occupy a special place in the world, mainly because the United States, the country par excellence, gives hope to humanity. The unique balance between public and private interests which are both governed by the same constitutional ideals and democratic institutions, and the primacy of personal and economic freedoms lead according to the believers to this conclusion.
This idea is very close to the Manifest Destiny, a socio-political term for the first time used in 1840 launched by the Democrats at the President Andrew Jackson to justify the annexation of the Far West (the Oregon Territory, Texas and Mexican Cession). In 1890, this doctrine was adopted by the Republicans as theoretical justification of American territorial expansion outside the North American continent (Alaska, Hawaii, the Philippines, and the islands of the Pacific).
Among the constitutional experts in the USA and abroad there is a growing idea that the United States are not bound by international law. American interests in their eyes are fundamental to the United States and the free world. This position is argued with the implicit assumption that the United States can never violate international law with possible exception of violations of human rights because the United States themselves defended, promoted and introduced these laws.
Some critiques argue that the term “American exceptionalism” is nothing more than largely an ethnocentrism and ditto racism, or even nothing more than vulgar propaganda that serves the justification of the US centered world view. In this sense Americanism is naturally chauvinistic and jingoistic. According to them, almost all states have similar claims made at the height of their power. However, history has shown that the idea of an extraordinary nature or a fate intrinsically different from all the other states on Earth never lasts forever. Finally, there are political scientists who simply use this term to refer to some exceptions within the American system without therefore necessarily be accompanied by an innate American superiority that has made possible such exceptions.
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