But we’re American… The Renewed Vigour of American Exceptionalism and its Presence in Speeches by George W. Bush

Olaf Du Pont

The paper studies the tropes used in the main founding text of American exceptionalism, A Modell of Christian Charity (1630) by John Winthrop, and examines their presence in present-day American political rhetoric. A corpus of speeches by American President George W. Bush is used to verify the presence of the tropes and their possible evolution since 1630. The notion that the American people are ‘exceptional' and have a ‘mission’ to fulfil cannot only be discerned directly in present-day comments on international politics but also in the nature of the political decisions themselves. In this way, the paper illustrates the influence of a 17th century text on American 21st century political rhetoric and political action.