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American Political Culture

American Exceptionalism

American Attitudes Toward Government

Review Questions

American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States differs from the rest of the world. According to this view, the lessons learned by other nations do not necessarily apply to the United States because the United States is exceptional and different. Americans have believed they are different from other peoples in the world because of the following concepts:

  • Divine providence: Some believe that America has been chosen by God to embody virtue and be a beacon to the world. The back of the one-dollar bill reads, for example, “In God we trust.”
  • Just principles: Unlike most states, the United States was founded on ideas and principles, not by conquest.
  • Geography and resources: The great wealth of resources and relative isolation of the United States for much of its history has made America unique among most other countries in the world.
  • Diversity: The American mix of cultures and traditions is the source of American strength.

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