“American Exceptionalism,” once a term debated by academics, has entered political discourse. What does or could the term mean? Isn’t America based on universal principles? So how can it be exceptional? If it’s not (or if it is), what are the implications of so many Americans believing it is? This seminar will feature William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard.

In addition to completing reading assignments, students are expected to write one 500- to 750-word essay for the course. Each day, several students will submit an essay in response to one of the discussion questions listed on the syllabus. The essays will be shared and used to begin the seminar.

Photo by Luke Michael on Unsplash

Bill Kristol & Harvey Mansfield on Alexis de Tocqueville


William Kristol

William Kristol is editor at large of The Weekly Standard, which, together with Fred Barnes and John Podhoretz, he founded in 1995. Mr. Kristol has served as chief of staff to the Vice President of the United States and to the Secretary of Education. Before coming to Washington in 1985, Kristol taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session

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