By Rick Halpern
The concept that American historic improvement isn't the same as that of different international locations is an outdated one, but it exhibits no signal of wasting its emotive energy. 'Exceptionalism' keeps to excite, beguile, and frustrate scholars of the yank prior. The essays during this quantity discover the ways that the method of sophistication formation within the usa may be acknowledged to be unique. Focusing upon the impression of liberal political idea, race and immigration, and the position of the war-time country, they problem particularist and nation-centred modes of rationalization. evaluating American old improvement with Italian, South African, and Australian examples, the essays reinvigorate a drained debate.
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Additional resources for American Exceptionalism?: US Working-Class Formation in an International Context
We are just waiting - perhaps better, as Byron Shafer says, searching - for its 'next incarnation'. 65 NOTES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Ira Katznelson and Aristide Zolberg, eds, Working-Class Formation: Nineteenth-Century Patterns in Western Europe and the United States (Princeton, 1986); Jean Heffer and Jeanine Rovet, eds, Why Is There No Socialism in the United States? , Is America Different ? ', Political Science Quarterly, 104 (1989), 91-115 ; Michael Karnmen, 'The Problem of American Exceptionalism: A Reconsideration', American Quarterly, 45 (1993), 1-43; Richard Curry and Lawrence Goodheart, eds, American Chameleon: Individualism in Trans-National Context (Kent, OH, 1991); Jack Greene, The Intellectual Construction of America: Exceptionalism and Identity from /492 to 1800 (Chapel Hill, 1993); Kim Voss, The Making of American Exceptionalism: The Knights of Labor and Class Formation in the Nineteenth Century (Ithaca, 1993); David Wrobel, The End of American Exceptionalism: Frontier Anxiety from the Old West to the New Deal (Lawrence, KA, 1993).
The Dodo and the Phoenix 29 Exceptionalism is little more than an exercise in nostalgia now. Its essential issues are no longer ours. Exceptionalists celebrated America's distinctive democracy; since the Second World War we have deliberately dismantled a great deal of the apparatus of that democracy in order to manage our empire more efficiently. Exceptionalists vaunted American values of fairness; since Ronald Reagan's ascension to the presidency on the backlash against blacks and women, Bill Clinton's Democratic Leadership Council has explicitly begged Democrats to eliminate the very word fairness from the party's vocabulary and to speak instead of economic growth.
Two issues regularly recur: the range of individuals deemed eligible to participate (hence also the rules of inclusion and exclusion) and the terms (in rights and institutions) of their linkage to the political system. Second, by conceptualising American liberalism not as an unchanging being but as a boundary condition whose content has been shaped and reshaped, to varying degrees, by working-class agency at key moments of transition in the country's political development, I argue that workingclass history can be re-integrated into larger schemes for the periodisation of American development from which they have been severed to an uncomfortable degree.
American Exceptionalism?: US Working-Class Formation in an International Context by Rick Halpern