Letter: American exceptionalism
More and more we hear people disputing this description of our nation. Even President Obama once said that citizens in most countries feel just as strongly that their own nation is also exceptional. It reflects a rising tide of ignorance about our nation’s founding, presumably attributable to the declining quality of education in our secondary schools.
America is exceptional, not because of who we are or what we have accomplished, but because ours is the only nation ever founded on the principle of Liberty for everyone.
Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1861 that the primary cause of our great prosperity was the principle of “Liberty for all”. “…the expression of that principle in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate.” “The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word, ‘fitly spoken’ which has proved to be an ‘apple of gold’ to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it”. (from Proverbs 25:11—”A word fitly spoken is like an apple of gold in pictures of silver”)
Like an apple of gold in a frame of silver. Historian W. Cleon Skousen wrote a book about it, titled “A Miracle That Changed the World: The 5000 Year Leap.” A nation founded on the principle of Liberty for all, he wrote, advanced civilization 5000 years in the short span of less than 200 years since the founding of the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
The 4th of July is not simply a celebration of America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776—it is a celebration of that founding principle, “Liberty For All,” that in 200 years accomplished what the previous 5000 years had not been able to do under feudalism, monarchy, and socialism. Yes, America is exceptional because of what took place in Philadelphia in 1776.
Jim Mulholland, Granby
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