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Noel S. Williams / July 6, 2015

American Exceptionalism Is Rooted in Our Independence

About 26% of us are unsure from whom we got our independence. Unaware of the origins of American magnificence and munificence, these ignoramuses must also underappreciate from whence our exceptionalism took root. Now seems an appropriate time of year to remind them.

Exceptional Beginnings

In his now-legendary midnight ride to Concord, Paul Revere supposedly yelled, “The British are coming!” As The History Channel suggests, the British were already here: “Colonial Americans at that time still considered themselves British; if anything, Revere may have told other rebels that the ‘Regulars’ — a term used to designate British soldiers — were on the move.”

Our founders were overwhelmingly British, and determined to ostracize old world Monarchy from their exceptional new republic. They instituted civil, political and legal systems that facilitated a flourishing society, solidified property rights and laid the groundwork for America’s exceptionalism.

Exceptional Explorers

Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J. Q. Adams, Jackson, and W. Harrison were born British subjects; yet, it was their Manifest Destiny to propel America’s virtuous ideals across the untamed N. American wilderness.

Jefferson was very keen to extend the span of the great new American experiment in Democracy. In a letter to James Monroe, he wrote, “It is impossible not to look forward to distant times when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits, and cover the whole northern, if not southern continent.”

Daniel Boone, the legendary frontiersman with British lineage, was already extending those limits in 1775, blazing a trail through the Appalachian Mountains that would facilitate rapid multiplication westward.

Lewis and Clark set out on their epochal expedition in 1803 under Jefferson’s mandate to not only map and find a route across the wilderness, but also to facilitate U.S. sovereignty over the vast continent. These brave and resilient explorers were steeped in British pedigree and customs, and capable of navigating beguiling territory that must’ve seemed other-worldly. They suffered perils from hunger, to sickness, to wild weather, to ungainly beasts — and some unfriendly locals. But they invariably reached their objective, laid claim to the land, and returned with copious notes and beautiful maps.

Rapid multiplication was not far behind, led by a brave band of rugged pioneers with imaginations that followed the sun west across the great and glorious American wilderness. One noteworthy frontiersman was Davy Crockett, “The King of the wild frontier.” He had part British heritage but a full allotment of British resolve.

Exceptional Trails

The Peoria Party embarked upon a mission to colonize the great Oregon Country on behalf of the U.S. whilst pushing out English fur traders. Many were born in England, and their daring optimism in the face of daunting challenges held them in good stead along the foreboding Oregon Trail, which became instrumental in expanding American influence from sea to shining sea.

The Santa Fe Trail was an impressive commercial throughway that snaked its way through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. It helped open up heretofore inaccessible areas to trade and settlement and was founded by a certain William Becknell, whose ancestry can be traced to Sussex County, England.

The Mormons, uprooted from their original settlements, were forced westward along what is now called the Mormon Trail. Many who carved pathways through awe-inspiring landscapes in search of the Great Basin were ensconced in British lineage.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. was inexorably pushing westward, the Monroe Doctrine ensured that America remain preeminent over her expanding domain. The doctrine attempted to prevent further European interference in the Americas, but it was preposterous on face value that the fledgling nation could deter mighty European countries. But the mightiest of them all during this remarkable period of Pax Britannica was Britain, who agreed in principle with the doctrine. The imperious British Navy essentially enforced Monroe’s doctrine.

Exceptional Industry

Of course, the intrepid pioneers, prospectors, cowboys and homesteaders who tamed the west were often comforted by the sleek firearms produced in innovative factories — with assembly lines and interchangeable parts — by Samuel Colt. Along with the beautifully crafted Winchester repeating rifle, these guns are often credited with winning the West. These manufacturers can trace their ancestry to Britain.

Eventually, the perilous trails clinging to the contours of hope through purple mountain majesties became less travelled. There was a railroad revolution underway — the Transcontinental Railroad represented the greatest engineering project of the 19th Century.

The railways were planned, conceived, funded and engineered by entrepreneurs with names like Asa Whitney, Stanford, Crocker, Huntington and Hopkins. Stanford, founder of the prestigious university and eighth governor of California, served as president of Southern Pacific and Central Pacific railroads. His roots were British, or English, to be more precise.

For sure, the track was mostly laid by brave Irish and Chinese immigrants — they represented the perspiration that made the inspiration reality.

Soon, telegraph polls were bordering the rails, transmitting Morse code along the electromagnetic conduits. Telegraphs and railways propelled American values across the vast terrain and cemented America as a bourgeoning power. The new railroads reduced transcontinental travel from 6 months, or more, to 6 days, or less. And as efficient as the Pony Express system was, it couldn’t compete with telegraphs going at, you know, the speed of light.

Samuel Morse, inventor of his eponymous Morse code and champion of the telegraph, was imbued with British exceptionalism.


Within 100 years of proudly proclaiming her political independence to the world, America had fulfilled Jefferson’s wish of expanding across the entire northern continent. During that glorious endeavor, Great Britain was by far the largest investor in American land development, railroads, mining, cattle ranching, the telegraph labyrinth and heavy industry.

Lest the 26 percent succumb to guilt-ridden elites who’d re-write history to conform to PC, be aware: we not only gained our independence from Great Britain, but a large dose of exceptionalism. By the time Ellis Island opened as a federal immigration station in 1892, American Exceptionalism was beckoning those yearning to breathe free, those yearning to pursue the American dream in what Lincoln called “last great hope for earth.”

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