American Exceptionalism: The Origins, History, and Future of the Nation's Greatest Strength


American Exceptionalism provokes intense debates culturally, economically, politically, and socially. This collection, edited by Charles W. Dunn of Regent University's Robertson School of Government, brings together analysis of the idea's origins, history and future.

Contributors include:
Hadley Arkes, Michael Barone, James W. Ceasar, Charles W. Dunn, Daniel L. Dreisbach, T. David Gordon, Steven F. Hayward, ...

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American Exceptionalism provokes intense debates culturally, economically, politically, and socially. This collection, edited by Charles W. Dunn of Regent University's Robertson School of Government, brings together analysis of the idea's origins, history and future.

Contributors include:
Hadley Arkes, Michael Barone, James W. Ceasar, Charles W. Dunn, Daniel L. Dreisbach, T. David Gordon, Steven F. Hayward, Hugh Heclo, Marvin J. Folkertsma, William Kristol, and George H. Nash.

While many now argue against the policies and ideology of American Exceptionalism as antiquated and expired, the authors collected here make the bold claim that a closer reading of our own history reveals that there is still an exceptional aspect of American thought, identity and government worth advancing and protecting. It will be the challenge of the coming American generations to both refine and examine what we mean when we call America "exceptional," and this book provides readers a first step towards a necessary understanding of the exceptional purpose, progress and promise of the United States of America.

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Editorial Reviews

Charles W. Dunn
[E]very day and everywhere in the world citizens of other countries line up in long lines at American embassies, patiently waiting for the opportunity of coming to America. Call it what you may, American Exceptionalism or something else, America has a magnetic appeal not found anywhere else in the world. . . . Regardless of whether American Exceptionalism attracts or repels, debates about it open the window to a deeper understanding of the word American.

(Excerpted from the introduction)

Inc. Book News
This is a collection of 9 papers glorifying the superiority of the United States as the example all other countries should emulate. Three of the papers discuss Ronald Reagan's nationalistic vision of America as designated by God for greatness. The final chapter by Steven Hayward predicts that President Obama will institute price and wage controls in 2013 as inflation runs rampant.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442222779
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Pages: 174
  • Sales rank: 960,736
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles W. Dunn currently serves as the Distinguished Professor of Government at Regent University's Robertson Graduate School of Government, where he previously served as dean. He has also taught at Clemson University, Grove City College, the University of Illinois-Urbana, and Florida State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Magnetism of American Exceptionalism, Charles W. Dunn
Old Wine in New Wine Skins; The Silver Thread of American Exceptionalism; Debating the Magnetism of American Exceptionalism.

PART I: The History of American Exceptionalism

1. The Origins and Character of American Exceptionalism, James W. Ceaser
An Exceptional War: Liberals versus Conservatives; Exceptional Objections. Defining “Exceptionalism” (or Redefining It for Some); Anti-Exceptionalism: American Declinism; The Mission Expressed Through History; Separating the Matrix of Thoughts in America’s Mission; Conclusion.

2. The Varieties of American Exceptionalism, Hugh Heclo
A Brief History of the Term “American Exceptionalism;” Framing Our Identity; Exceptionalism of Condition; Exceptionalism of Mission; Exceptionalism of Character.

PART II: The Foundations of American Exceptionalism

3. The City on a Hill: Life in a Morally Demanding Place, Hadley Arkes
The Moral Truth: We are to be Governed by Our Own Consent; The Moral Character Defines a Citizen; Which to Use: The Obvious Moral Basis or The Commerce Clause?; Conclusion.

4. A Peculiar People in “God’s American Israel,” Daniel L. Dreisbach
Beginning America’s Sacred Mission; Two Views about the Colonists’ Beliefs; Divine Providence in Early American Political Thought; A Chosen, Elect, and Covenanted People; Christian Hebraism in Early American Political Discourse; America: God’s New Israel? The Founders and Ancient Israel’s Governmental Model; Conclusion.

PART III: The Challenges to American Exceptionalism
5. Taking Exception to Exceptionalism, T. David Gordon
The Religious Idea of American Exceptionalism (and why I oppose it); Historical Considerations; Theological Considerations; The Secular Idea of American Exceptionalism (and why I disapprove it also, though less zealously); Is America Still Exceptional? Probably not. Should America Strive to be Exceptional (Probably not).

6. Is Exceptionalism a Myth?, William Kristol
The Declaration of Independence: Un-exceptionally American; The Federalist Papers: Unexceptional and Exceptional; Gettysburg Address: Universal Principle and Special Responsibility; The Patriotism of Universal Principles; The Burden of American Exceptionalism.

PART IV: The Future of American Exceptionalism

7. Ronald Reagan’s Vision of America, George H. Nash
The Colonial Perspective; More Recent Perspectives; Reagan and American Exceptionalism; Reagan’s Oration on American Exceptionalism; Reagan Addresses Foes of American Exceptionalism; Reagan’s American Exceptionalism v. LBJ and Academic Elitism; Reagan’s Addition to American Exceptionalism; Freedom and Destiny: The Underpinnings of Reagan’s Vision; Remember Our History or Lose Our Liberty; Reagan and the YouTube Generation.

8. Killing the Lone Ranger: American Exceptionalism and the Western, Marvin J. Folkertsma
The Code: American Exceptionalism Through the Western Lens; Plunging into a New Frontier; From East to West: Let the Best Man Win; Americans Are the Good Guys; American Exceptionalism: Riding Off Into the Sunset?

9. Restoring Reaganesque Exceptionalism in American Politics, Michael Barone
A Burden of Responsibility, Not a Position of Privilege; The Influence of the Glorious Revolution; Opposing Hegemonic Tyrannies; A Renaissance Time-Traveler.

10. Back to the Future: Ronald Reagan’s Exceptionalism, Steven Hayward
Reagan’s Body-Snatching Project; The Tale of the Tape; Constitutionalism and Original Intent; The Constitution and the Making of Citizens.

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