Hypothesis worth researching:

All the allegedly novel and unprecedented ideas that are usually mentioned as the root of American exceptionalism where already well defined and implemented, at least to some extent, somewhere else, before the 🇺🇸 even existed.

I’m referring to things such as: individual liberty, liberalism, republicanism, the pursuit of happiness, capitalism, check and balances, all men created equal, meritocracy, the melting pot, federalism, separation of church and state, cult of innovation, respect for private initiative, etc.

Whatever one picks as the definite defining characteristic (or even: whatever combination of a few of those), it was already “invented” before . True?

Soft version: even if the combination of ideas was truly novel back then, as soon as a few other prosperous nations adopted them successfully, the USA stopped being unique or exceptional in its political system. Much in the same way nobody today talks of Greece as a beacon or as a model for prosperity or welfare just because democracy was first tried there.


Honest question. I don’t know enough or to answer my own question.

The idea/complaint above would be familiar to anyone who, like me, is not an American nor lives in , but leads (admittedly: by choice) a rather US-centric life.

In the sense that I read much more in English than in my mother tongue (literature, essays, blog posts, social media), I pay more attention to American intellectuals and media figures than to authors in my own country, I listen to podcasts produced mostly in the US, etc.

Someone like me — living in a better democracy than the US (according to studies I’ve seen), with longer life expectancy, lower crime rates, a much longer history as a country, involved in fewer wars, etc — sometimes grows tired of hearing so much about the uniqueness of America, the unprecedented experiment that it is, the unparalleled clarity of the Founding Fathers… Is that really so? Even today? Or is it American chauvinism, provincialism, or ignorance?

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@tripu I don’t know but I do relate totally.
As a possible data point, their previous fearless leader was onto something: make America great again.
So it was great, but not anymore.

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