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American Exceptionalism: Reality Or Myth

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Freedom motivates individuals to become creative, innovative, self-learners, and expressive. However, these individuals’ motivations become suppressed if they have no right to perform them in a group environment or in the society. Consequently, this had led the United States through the equal rights evolution and laws were developed to protect the American people. Eventually, this evolution had made the Americans and its country exceptional.

For example, before 1870, the discrimination had forbidden African Americans to vote or to run for the government.However, the establishment of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1870 has granted African American men the right to vote. It declares that the ‘right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Similarly for women, they were treated unequally and were viewed as the house wives to serve their husbands and children only. They were not allowed to work to help bring in money to support for their family nor to vote. However, during WW II, all American people had united to fight against Japan’s world invasion threat. The American women and the African Americans joined in to contribute all they could to fight the war. By demonstrating and convincing legislators that women could shoulder public responsibilities, women’s wartime contributions gave final impetus to passage of the national suffrage amendment  in 1920. Additionally, in 1964, the Civil Rights Act is the most significant civil rights law in U.S. history was established. It ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or nation origin. The ability to learn, evolve, and create equal rights laws to unite a diverse-race nation has made America and its people exceptional. Therefore, other countries with diverse races around the world could study and follow the American exceptionalism under the equal rights laws.

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Although freedom and equal rights promote creativity and innovation in a diverse society, there is a terrifying thought that innovation can lead to dictatorship or monopoly. Throughout the American history, the Americans had been the ones that explore, face the problem, and invent innovative solution to make their lives better. However, they did not use their advantages to monopolize or dictate other countries. Their individualism has made them exceptional. For example, during World War II, America was the first country that developed the ultimate weapon, the Atomic Bomb from the Manhattan Project. The first use of the Atomic Bomb technology had demonstrated the American people’s innovation, creativity, ability to face, and resolve a problem. This had stopped Japan’s world invasion quest. The United States could have taken advantage of its supremacy to take over Japan’s world invasion quest and to become a world dictator. However, the United States did not do that and instead, the U.S. government had created several peace agreements with other countries to minimize the war outbreak. For example, the peace agreement in Paris that ended U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks agreement with the Soviet Union to reduce and limit the strategic offensive arms. They took an active role in trying to bring fighting countries to settle their differences such as the PLO and Israel. They formed alliances to help keep peace in the world. Another example of individualism is Henry Ford’s invention of the automobile and the industrialization of mass production. Ford did not monopolize this market for his own benefit. Instead, he shared his technology with Germany and Soviet Union to help them build automobiles. The Americans’ ability to innovate to solve any problem technologically without wanting to monopolize has demonstrated their individualism is exceptional. Therefore, other countries could use this as a role model to obtain their own individualism.

In conclusion, the American exceptionalism did not appear overnight in the United States. It was a creation of the frontier where the settlers migrating to the west. The settlers had to face many obstacles and had to be self-reliance to overcome them to build a better life, environment, and country for their family and their groups. They developed their own skills, solutions, independence, motivation, and innovation. This process repeated as they move westward. They created a democracy with the government to work and to protect their people’s freedom, equal rights, and individualism without becoming a dictator of the world. These accomplishments have made the American people and its country a new, exceptional, unique, and independent nation. Consequently, I believe that the emphasis on American exceptionalism is appropriate and worthwhile for our increasingly diverse nation-state and an ever globalizing world.

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