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Meeting the EnemyAmerican Exceptionalism and International Law$
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Natsu Taylor Saito

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814798362

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814798362.001.0001

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“A City on a Hill”

“A City on a Hill”

Colonial Origins of International Law

Chapter:
(p.35) 2 Civilizing the Other
Source:
Meeting the Enemy
Author(s):

Natsu Taylor Saito

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814798362.003.0003

This chapter traces the ideology of American exceptionalism to the earliest English settlers' belief in their divinely ordained mission to bring progress and civilization to the wilderness. In particular, it considers the English settlers' vision of establishing a “city on a hill,” a beacon of freedom for the world, and how it was perpetuated in the faith of the American colonists that their new republic was taking European civilization to a higher level. The chapter begins with an overview of the early Puritan settlements and the legal context within which they framed their claims of bringing civilization to “New England.” It then examines the founding of the American Republic and how the Puritans' vision was transformed into a secularized mission-driven state. It also explains how America's founders situated themselves in the “genealogy” of Western progress, thus quite literally creating a “state of exception”.

Keywords:   freedom, American exceptionalism, civilization, city on a hill, Puritan settlements, New England, American Republic, Puritans, Western progress, English settlers

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