American Exceptionalism Analysis

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The theory of American Exceptionalism is meant to show that although America is similar to other countries in many ways, it has distinct qualities that establish its own identity and portrays it as a unique nation founded on personal liberty. Bender’s third chapter revolves around the era of the Civil War, in which he views the war as having inspired a feeling of “national belonging.” This supports American philosopher Orestes Brownston’s ideas, which show that “the struggle for national unity and integrity” allowed the nation to gain “a distinct recognition of itself.” Bender argues in this chapter what nineteenth-century political thinkers thought, which is that “Without unity, there was no nation; without a nation, there was no liberty.”…show more content…
Together the three documents prove and disprove what those political thinkers believed, which was that a strong unified nation was crucial for the protection of individual civil liberties. Therefore, we can tell that our founding was a time to build a unified nation based on the ideals of classic liberalism, while establishing a strong democratic government whose purpose was to defend individual liberty and freedom. Our claim that individuals have natural rights and liberties can be traced back to the time of John Locke, a liberal political thinker who believed in the social contract theory, in which all people were free due to their natural rights, who in return gave their consent to be governed. The root of this argument can be found in the heart of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration…show more content…
Rather than advocating for the assurance of individual liberties, Marx and Engels argue that the government is justified in increasing its power to the point where their authority overrides personal liberties. Karl Marx says “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” He focuses on the clash between classes in society and discusses how one class dominates another, which in the end suppresses individual freedoms. In the age where “the Civil War marked the transformation of an agricultural society into an industrial nation,” Marx saw a move towards capitalism, which he felt led to the exploitation of laborers and argued that Communism could put an end to that. Therefore, this document disproves the idea that unity was the solution to the protection of liberty, but rather argues that the elimination of class distinction would erase oppression among society. Bender argued that nineteenth-century political thinkers saw a strong unified nation as the key to the protection of individual liberty. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution justify the idea that with the unity of a nation, personal liberty is achieved; however, the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” invalidates this idea by choosing uniformity over unity. Therefore, nineteenth-century political thinkers like Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson
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