John Wilsey's American Exceptionalism And Civil Religion

Better Essays
American exceptionalism, in reference to John Wilsey, author of American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea, is defined as “a unique nation—an exceptional nation—set apart and qualitatively different from, even superior to, the rest of the world.” (Wilsey 15). America, throughout history, has always been viewed as superior to other countries. While this may be true in today’s society, America back in the 18th century acted and answered differently toward certain affairs. In the 1700s, there were events that can be considered exceptional, nevertheless there is a larger amount of negative aspects that occurred. American exceptionalism is not an effective tool to explain America in the 18th century because of…show more content…
England controlled most of North America along with the French (Cite). During the 1700s, several wars were fought by England. Many of these wars carried over into North America, where the colonists and Native Americans lived (Zinn chpt 4). One war in particular was the French and Indian War, where they fought against the British for land and power in North America. (Zinn chpt 4). The French and Indian War was fought for land and power in North America. As the war excelled, the Native Americans took the side of the French rather than the British. This is because the French were not attempting to take over their land like the British were (Zinn chpt 5). Over the seven years that the war lasted, the British defeated the French and now had control of most of the land. Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, accentuates about how the British could continue its ruling over the colonies, “With the French defeated, the British government could turn its attention to tightening control over the colonies” (Zinn 60). While the British were planning their control over the colonies, the “ambitious colonial leaders were no longer a threat by the French. They had only two rivals left: The English and the Indians” (Zinn 59). The colonists had begun their plans to separate from the British and now considered the British their rivals. The French and Indian War was very expensive, and the British needed to…show more content…
The inequality of slaves and women as well as the union with England does not show support that America was superior or overpowering to other nations. American exceptionalism can be used to described America later in history, in the 19th century. The colonies separate from England and become the United States of America, and changes begin to occur for women and slaves. The 18th century was too early to begin describing America as exceptional. America during this time showed more negative aspects, as it was beginning to transition into a new stage. Today, I can say that America is superior and exceptional. American exceptionalism would be a vigorous adjective to describe America today because of its large size, strong economy and military, and new
Get Access