American exceptionalism

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Each act of aggression, each new expedition of conquest is prefaced by a pronouncement containing a moral justification and an assurance to the victims of the imperial aggression that all is being done for their benefit. ~ Richard F. Pettigrew
From the dawn of history the oppressor has always insisted that oppression was good for the oppressed. ~ Moorfield Storey
Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn't trust the evidence of one's eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice. ~ Edward Said

American exceptionalism is the claim that the United States is exceptional, unusual or extraordinary in some way and thus does not conform or does need to conform to normal rules and principles.

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A[edit]

  • A nation that should never do wrong must necessarily govern the world.

C[edit]

  • America is great because America is good.
    • Hillary Clinton, Speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention (July 28, 2016)
      • This statement of American exceptionalism can be found in a contribution by Reverend Clarenca Reynolds to the September 6, 1922 issue of the Herald and Presbyter. The statement is sometime falsely attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville.
  • Perhaps there has been, at some point in history, some great power whose elevation was exempt from the violent exploitation of other human bodies. If there has been, I have yet to discover it. But this banality of violence can never excuse America, because ... America believes itself exceptional, the greatest and noblest nation ever to exist. ... One cannot, at once, claim to be superhuman and then plead mortal error. I propose to take our countrymen's claims of American exceptionalism seriously, which is to say I propose subjecting our country to an exceptional moral standard.
  • We are situated differently in this respect from any other country. All the other great powers have a comparatively homogeneous population, close kindred in race and blood and speech, and commonly little divided in religious beliefs. Our great Nation is made up of the strong and virile pioneering stock of nearly all the countries of the world. We have a variety of race and language and religious belief.

P[edit]

  • The cry that we have entered upon our imperial course in order to benefit the native populations in the lands that we have conquered is an old one. ... I have before me McKinley's proclamation to the Filipinos, and I have placed it side by side with a proclamation of the King of Assyria, written eighteen hundred years before Christ. A man would think that McKinley had plagiarized the idea from Asshurbanipal. ...

    Each act of aggression, each new expedition of conquest is prefaced by a pronouncement containing a moral justification and an assurance to the victims of the imperial aggression that all is being done for their benefit.

S[edit]

  • Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn't trust the evidence of one's eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.
  • From the dawn of history the oppressor has always insisted that oppression was good for the oppressed.
    • Moorfield Storey, "The duty of the United States towards the Philippine Islands: A reply to Secretary Taft" (1908), p. 3

T[edit]

  • Americans are good at solving problems. We’ve put men on the moon, cured countless diseases, and invented nearly all modern technology from televisions and telephones to microchips and the Internet. We created a durable democracy that has lasted more than 200 years, ended slavery, destroyed Hitler's Nazi regime, and bested the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

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