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American Exceptionalism Essay

587 words - 3 pages

The question of American exceptionalism will always be a controversial one. In two contrasting essays, professors Ian Tyrrell and Seymour Martin Lipset discuss their views on American exceptionalism. Tyrrell does not believe America to be exceptional and talks mostly about history from all over the world to make his case. Lipset, on the other hand, believes that the United States is exceptional in that it differs from other countries since it began from a revolutionary event. I agree with both Tyrrell and Lipset. While America may exceptional in certain aspects, it is not in others. Lipset definitely has good supporting ideas and facts for his argument. He says, "As I have frequently argued, it is impossible to understand a country without seeing how it varies from others." ...view middle of the document...

I agree with Lipset in this aspect because in my opinion it is important for us to have the freedom to make choices regarding our own religion and other such matters. Lipset also discusses the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights and how they are "designed to protect the citizenry against the abuse of power by the government." I also agree with Lipset on this. American is exceptional in that we have the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to protect our given rights as human beings. We should have the rights that are given to us in both of those documents and in that way America is exceptional. Tyrrell doesn't agree with Lipset in that he does not believe America to be exceptional. His main point throughout the essay is that history has this ideology that American is exceptional, which, in his opinion, is not the case. He says, "The history of the United States cannot be exceptional unless contrasted with other histories that conform to fixed patterns of historical development. I agree with Tyrrel in that history and certain accounts of historical events give us this preconception that America is greatly exceptional. In conclusion, American exceptionalism cannot be narrowed down to a yes or no answer. Some will agree with Lipset and believe that yes America is exceptional because we have religious and personal freedom and have our rights protected and other such reasons. Some will agree with Tyrrell and believe that America is not necessarily exceptional and just believe American exceptionalism is just an idea ingrained in our heads by history and accounts a historical events. Even though we do have all our freedom in America in all these different ways, you cannot infer that the United States is exceptional just based on those ideas.

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