Even though conservatives love to bat around the phrase "American exceptionalism" these days, the phrase itself has very lefty origins. At TheAtlantic.com Terrence McCoy traces the history of the idea behind American exceptionalism back to none other than Joseph Stalin. "In 1929, Communist leader Jay Lovestone informed Stalin in Moscow that the American proletariat wasn't interested in revolution. Stalin responded by demanding that he end this 'heresy of American exceptionalism.'" The American Communist Party picked up on the phrase at their national convention a year later, when they declared, "The storm of the economic crisis in the United States blew down the house of cards of American exceptionalism." So the next time you're at a rally where Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich is standing on his soap box talking about how exceptional we are as a nation, feel free to nod along and then raise your hand with a very funny question about why they're Stalin sympathizers. You wouldn't be too off base phrasing it like that. (But they would!) The whole history of the idea is rather complicated so do click through and check out McCoy's piece.
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