American Exceptionalism

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As John Winthrop once described what would become the United States as a city upon a hill, American Exceptionalism was born on enlightenment principles of political liberty and equality. This political foundation of liberty and equality for the United States in the new world was founded on the idea of natural, God given rights, and these enlightenment principles seen the Declaration of Independence became the core of American political thought would survive and evolve through nineteenth century Hegelism culminating in the American Civil War. The most famous of Enlightenment thinkers was an Englishmen by the name of John Locke, the father of liberalism. In his work, Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government, Locke famously stated that “Reason, which is the law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it…no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions; for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent and infinitely wise Maker.” This was summarized down to Life, Liberty, and Property, where no man can or should be derived of his personal freedoms and that all men are equal under God. While these ideas did not take hold in in Europe until the French Revolution in 1789, they did take root in the English colonies in America for their founding in 1776. When the thirteen colonies voted to break away from the United Kingdom, they had Thomas Jefferson write the declaration of independence, and the main inspiration for this was John Locke. The most
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