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The phrase "American exceptionalism" is used in many ways and for many purposes, but its original meaning involved a statement of fact: for the first century after the Constitution went into effect, European observers and Americans alike saw the United States as exceptional, with political and civic cultures that had no counterparts anywhere else.
In "American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History," Charles Murray describes how America’s geography, ideology, politics, and daily life set the new nation apart from Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. He then discusses the ways that exceptionalism changed during America’s evolution over the course of the 20th century. Which changes are gains to be applauded? Which are losses to be mourned? Answering these questions is the essential first step in discovering what you want for America’s future.
About the author:
Charles Murray is a political scientist, author, and libertarian. He first came to national attention in 1984 with the publication of Losing Ground, which has been credited as the intellectual foundation for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. His 1994 New York Times bestseller, "The Bell Curve" (Free Press, 1994), coauthored with the late Richard J. Herrnstein, sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of IQ in shaping America’s class structure. Murray's other books include "What It Means to Be a Libertarian" (1997), "Human Accomplishment" (2003), "In Our Hands" (2006), and "Real Education" (2008). His most recent book, "Coming Apart" (Crown Forum, 2012), describes an unprecedented divergence in American classes over the last half century.