Essay on The American Mission

747 WordsMar 10, 20143 Pages
Issue one from the McKenna text presents two divergent political philosophies from Humanities professor Wilfred M. McClay and Historian Howard Zinn regarding the concept of American exceptionalism. McClay and Zinn provide convincing arguments as they support their contrasting viewpoints with key examples from American history on the question, “Should Americans believe in a unique American mission?” On one hand, McClay offers a belief in the unique American “mission” as interconnecting with our Founding Fathers through divine providentialism. On the other hand, Zinn rejects this notion asserting that restraint from the mythical belief of American exceptionalism will suppress combative desires. Professor McClay believes that…show more content…
The ethnic cleansing of Pequot tribesmen by Captain John Mason during the 1630s and the military excursions into the Philippines, Cuba, and Hispaniola in the late 1800s/early 1900s are examples Zinn’s description of these associated dangers (McKenna & Feingold 2011, 13-15). In The Power and the Glory, Zinn further expounds on Albert Einstein’s argument that, “Wars will stop when men refuse to fight” by stating American will stop fighting wars when they discard the myth of American exceptionalism (McKenna & Feingold 2011, 18). I believe that McClay and Zinn provide a persuasive argument elaborating their notion of the validity of America’s “unique” mission. However, I am inclined to agree with Professor McClay in his assertion in the mythical nature of American exceptionalism that has promoted social cohesiveness and propelled America as the “beacon of liberty and democracy” (McKenna & Feingold 2011, 14). The existence of present-day America developed after a period of empirical practices that allowed us to incorporate the positive qualities of democracy and make note of the negative aspects of wrongfully enforcing democratic ideals internationally (McKenna & Feingold 2011). Since our inception, the “invisible hand” of “divine providence” has directed America to propagate freedom and democracy to all peoples of the world (McKenna & Feingold 2011, 2-3). The majority of American Presidents
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