American Exceptionalism Research Paper

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Mark Williams History 111-8C1 Date: 7/31/14 Self Reliance and American Exceptionalism; What a Combination The beliefs of American exceptionalism are those that the United States is completely different and unique. The belief that the United States has qualitative differences which stand out from all other nations. American Exceptionalism stemmed after the revolution, prompted by newly found freedom from the British. Though the term is not necessarily supposed to mean belief of superiority, sometimes it is promoted as such. American exceptionalism, and the belief in the uniqueness of the country stretches from political ideology, American ideology, customs, culture, and so much more. In paragraph 4 of Self Reliance, Ralph…show more content…
He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” This is a quote from the seventh paragraph of Self Reliance. This quote is great in that it talks about how a man must be a nonconformist. He must not be held back by the ideas or the values of others (the name of goodness), but has to explore if those ideas or values are right for him. The United States, under the ideas of American exceptionalism explored and wrote their own values that had been explored and adopted based on the beliefs and morals of this new country. To be successful and to be unique, the United States adopted policies, laws, traditions, etc. without those things being enforced or instilled by an exterior force or greater “power.” Later in the seventh paragraph, Emerson makes a very powerful remark, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature….the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it.” This seems to really sum up American exceptionalism. No law or custom of the United States could be sacred or valued but that of the nature of the new country. The unique nature of the US (in the eyes of those who lived here) was important and valuable; a quality that was of the country’s nature. The rules and rights of the country were found in the constitution, and in the constitution all…show more content…
A government that holds values to be important, and individualism to be valuable is a force to be reckoned with. The beliefs stated by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Self Reliance would contribute to a much stronger government. I think it is important that a government take the influences from the world around, from other countries, from past leaders, and make their own policies and laws based on their beliefs and their opinions. If a government is constantly reliant on the ideologies of other countries and of other leaders, that government would never stand on their own feet. A government with no sense of self-sufficiency and no ability to function on its own (leaders with no ability to function without “higher power” that is) would never have what it takes to be

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