Heres an extended case for American exceptionalism. The argument, in a nutshell, is that "Americanism" is essentially what became of Puritanism:
Americanism is the end-stage of political Puritanism, which in turn was the yearning to live in contact with God as a citizen of God’s new Israel.
The author, David Gelernter, a Yale professor of computer science who is a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard, marshalls some interesting evidence but admits that "[t]his is an unprovable proposition."
Here is perhaps Gelernters most provocative point:
To sum up Americanism’s creed as freedom, equality, and democracy for all is to state only half the case. The other half deals with a promised land, a chosen people, and a universal, divinely ordained mission. This part of Americanism is the American version of biblical Zionism: in short, American Zionism.
I leave it to those more learned than I am to evaluate thoroughly the evidence. That various and sundry American political figures have appropriated the rhetoric of covenantalism is undeniable. That they actually confused their city of man with a city of God is another proposition altogether. I dont put it past all of them, either for reasons of theological-political fanaticism or of "secular humanism." But Lincoln, who is one of the central figures is Gelernters narrative, is careful to say only that Americans are an "almost chosen people." Gelernter notes this in passing, but does not give it the at least slightly ironic force I think it demands.
President Bush, who is often accused of taking precisely the line Gelernter seems to adopt is himself more careful, more Lincolnesque, if you will.
If youre interested in more on this subject, go here.
Hat tip: HobbsOnline.