American exceptionalism became a hot topic of debate this week when President Obama referred to it in his televised speech to the American people on his stance on the escalating violence in Syria. Russian President Putin countered the remarks about exceptionalism by basically saying America is not exceptional and that on a world view everyone is created equal and should be recognized as such. Thus, the debating began. Debate about American exceptionalism is not new. It has been visited a number of times in the past. So, what is American exceptionalism anyway.

Ronald J. Schmidt explains the background for the term and how it came to be in the book The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory. He also explains about the significance of the term and how it relates in history to current American identity.

You can view an excerpt here:


The debate about American exceptionalism is still important but I wonder if the idea is flexible to changing times and if so, how do we reconcile it. Is America really exceptional?