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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

American Exceptionalism and Culture

In National Review, James C. Bennett says that culture underlies American exceptionalism:
American exceptionalism took on institutional and legal form with the Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. These milestones certainly make us exceptional, but they should be understood in the context of the cultural foundations that preceded them, which gave rise to a constitutional republic and have kept it going for over two centuries. The lesson is that American exceptionalism is primarily cultural, and only secondarily constitutional or economic or technological or military. Our rule of law, our economic might, our technological dynamism, our military power, all rest on cultural foundations that have taken form over four centuries in North America, and have deeper roots going back to England.