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The Myth of American Exceptionalism

The Myth of American Exceptionalism

This video was recorded at MIT World Series: Myths About America. Americans have long embraced a notion of superiority, claims Howard Zinn. Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony described establishing "a city on a hill," to serve the world as a beacon of liberty. So far, so good. But driving this sense of destiny, says Zinn, was an assumption of divine agency—"an association between what the government does and what God approves of." And too frequently, continues Zinn, Americans have invoked God to expand "into someone else's territory, occupying and dealing harshly with people who resist occupation." Zinn offers numerous examples of how the American government has used "divine ordination" and rationales of spreading civilization and freedom to justify its most dastardly... Show More
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