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Americans claim to have a pride in their country and political system that sets them apart from citizens of many other nations.
In the 1800s, the French visitor Alexis DeToqueville coined the term "exceptional" to describe characteristics and values - liberty, egalitarianism, individualism - that distinguish Americans from other peoples.
Today, exceptionalism also refers to the belief that the US has a special mission and responsibility for humanity.
Both Barack Obama and John McCain have tried to tap into that belief, whose origins lie with Puritan Pilgrims, America's first settlers.
We the People travels to Plimoth Plantation, a recreation of the pilgrims first settlement in Plymouth, Massachusetts to explore the impact of exceptionalism on the 2008 presidential race.
Watch Part 2 of the programme here
This episode of We the People airs from Monday, October 27, 2008
Source: Al Jazeera