American Academy Lecture
American Exceptionalism: An Outdated Idea?
“Who is the new man, the American?” This question was posed in the eighteenth century by the French-born writer Hector de Crevecoeur. For more than 200 years, Americans and Europeans have debated whether the United States was following some unique—exceptional—path to modernization, different from that of monarchical Europe. How useful does the idea of American exceptionalism remain today? Does it explain or does it distract? In this talk, David Frum will argue that studying the similarities between advanced societies has become more meaningful than focusing on their differences.