• Our patriotic fervor was the result of the old and widespread belief in the idea of American exceptionalism, the idea that America was a new thing in history, different from other countries. Other nations had evolved one way or another, evolved from tribes from a gathering of clans, from inevitabilities of language and tradition and geography. But America was born, and born of ideas: that all men are created equal, that they have been given by God certain rights that can be taken from them by no man, and that those rights combine to create a thing called freedom.

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