American Exceptionalism in a New Era

American Exceptionalism in a New Era

Rebuilding the Foundation of Freedom and Prosperity

Editor: Thomas W. Gilligan
ISBN: 978-0-8179-2124-8
Publication Date: 12/1/2017

In American Exceptionalism in a New Era, editor Thomas W. Gilligan, director of the Hoover Institution, has compiled thirteen essays by Hoover fellows that discuss the unique factors that have historically set America apart from other nations and how these factors shape public policy. The authors show how America and its people have prospered and emerged as global leaders by prizing individuality and economic freedom and explore key factors in America’s success, including immigration, education, divided government, light regulation, low taxes, and social mobility. America isn’t perfect, they argue, but it is exceptional.

Taken together, the essays form a broad exploration of American attitudes on everything from tax rates and property rights to the role of government and rule of law. They examine the beliefs of statesmen including Alexis de Tocqueville, Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Hoover, and Ronald Reagan—each of whom considered America fundamentally different from other nations.

Finally they outline the ways American exceptionalism may be in decline, with consequences both at home and abroad. At a time when “the idea of the American dream is not in high repute in our public discourse,” the authors collectively argue that the United States must continue to believe in itself as exceptional and indispensable or else face a world where America no longer sets the standard.

Contributors: Annelise Anderson, John Cochrane, William Damon, Niall Ferguson, Stephen Haber, Victor Davis Hanson, Edward P. Lazear, Gary Libecap, Michael McConnell, George H. Nash, Lee Ohanian, Paul E. Peterson, Kori Schake


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Thomas W. Gilligan

Thomas W. Gilligan is the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution. A scholar in economics and political science, he has worked as a staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House and served in the United States Air Force.

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Foreword by Tom Gilligan

Foundations of American Exceptionalism
1 Is America Still the “Hope of Earth”? Origins and Underpinnings of American Exceptionalism – Paul Peterson
2 Legal Origins of American Exceptionalism – Michael McConnell
3 American Exceptionalism: Due Principally to Secure Private Property Rights – Gary Libecap
4 Intellectual Property as a Pillar of American Exceptionalism – Stephen Haber

American Exceptionalism and the Economy
5 America’s Exceptional Economic Record – Edward P. Lazear
6 Law and the Regulatory State – John Cochrane
7 Whither American Exceptionalism? – Niall Ferguson
8 What Makes America Great? Entrepreneurship – Lee Ohanion

American Exceptionalism on the World Stage
9 American Dominance of the International Order – Kori Schake
10 The Foundations of America’s Exceptional Role in the World – Victor Davis Hanson

The Spirit of American Exceptionalism
11 Herbert Hoover and American Exceptionalism – George Nash
12 Ronald Regan and American Exceptionalism – Annelise Anderson
13 The American Dream is Alive in the Minds of Young Americans – William Damon

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