Tag Archives: American exceptionalism

Is there such a Thing as American Exceptionalism?


I was struck by the discussion of American exceptionalism that became a running sub-theme of the recent American Historical Association annual meeting in Atlanta. It seems there is no way to square the perspections of exceptionalism presented everywhere with the … Continue reading

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America the Great?


As we enter into the Thanksgiving season it is appropriate to give thanks for those good things around us: our loved ones, the joys in our lives, the work and play we enjoy, and the happiness in our souls. But it … Continue reading

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Parallels Between the Sputnik and 9/11 Crises


Is there a relationship between the so-called “Sputnik moment” in October 1957 and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks? Yes, at several levels there are intriguing parallels between the Sputnik crisis of 1957-1958 that Eisenhower faced and the aftermath of the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Reinterpreting Exploration”


Reinterpreting Exploration: The West in the World. Edited by Dane Kennedy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Acknowledgments, figures, contributors, index. Vii – 236. ISBN: 978-0-19-975534-9. Hardcover. USD $89.10. Dane Kennedy has assembled a fine collection of historiographical essays on … Continue reading

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The Mythology of the Lone Genius and American Aeronautics Policy


Since December 17, 1903, the dates of the first flight at Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers have been celebrated as lone geniuses who succeeded when all others had failed. They have been interpreted to represent the very best American civilization has … Continue reading

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Thoughts on an Historical Essay Currently Underway: The Space Program and the Ideal of American Exceptionalism


I have been working on an essay, that I hope to publish someday with the following working title, “The Space Program and the Ideal of American Exceptionalism.” My definition of American exceptionalism emphasizes the perceived special national character of the U.S. as … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Dog Whistle Politics”


Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. By Ian Haney López. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. There is no doubt, and it is confirmed in this book, that racism is the … Continue reading

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The Legacy of Apollo: 45 Years On


July 2014 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the epochal lunar landing of Apollo 11 in the summer of 1969. Although President John F. Kennedy had made a public commitment on May 25, 1961, to land an American on the Moon … Continue reading

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The Apollo Program and the Idea of Progress


It is somewhat trite to suggest that America was founded on the idea of progress and that it remains both an amorphous concept and one central to American national identity. In the 1830s an astute French interpreter of United States … Continue reading

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Announcing the Space Station Freedom Program, January 25, 1984


We are coming up on the the thirtieth anniversary of the public announcement by President Ronald Reagan in his January 25, 1984, State of the Union Address about building a space station. At that time he said: “America has always been greatest … Continue reading

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