The Public Interest

“American exceptionalism” revisited: the role of civil society

Daniel Bell

Spring 1989

THE RISE and fall of nations and empires is a mystery that has perennially fascinated philosophers and historians, tempting them to entertain grand visions of a ghostly demiurge that drives events, as with Hegel, or of some Wagnerian drama of challenge and response, of purification and heroism, as with Arnold Toynbee.

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