Tag Archives: American exceptionalism

The Power of the Past in American Consciousness and the Fight over History Curricula


The current flap over the right wing politics of Mary Lou Bruner, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the District 9 seat on the Texas State Board of Education, brought to mind the longer-standing debate over the nature of … Continue reading

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What Were the Origins of Mormon/Non-Mormon Conflict in 1840s Nauvoo?


The non-Mormons of Hancock County, Illinois, in the early 1840s probably disliked the Mormons from the first, in the same way that most Americans have generally disliked what they have viewed as religious fanaticism, but they were initially disposed toward toleration … Continue reading

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Humanity and the Extreme Environment of Space


Although microbial life might survive the extreme conditions of space, for Homo sapien sapiens the space environment remains remarkably dangerous to life. One space life scientist, Vadim Rygalov, remarked that ensuring human life during spaceflight was largely about providing the … Continue reading

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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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