In this article published by the Journal of Political Ideologies, USSC Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor, Macquarie University's Lloyd Cox and the University of Sydney's Danny Cooper argue that American exceptionalism is, in essence, a strand of American nationalism that only emerged in its distinctive modern form during the Cold War. The authors begin by unpacking this relationship between nationalism and exceptionalism in the first section and continue in the second section by examining the significance of two key thinkers on American exceptionalism – Alexis de Tocqueville and Seymour Martin Lipset. The third section crystallizes various meanings of the concept identified previously. The authors delineate three core pillars of exceptionalist thinking: a belief that the United States has a unique founding that set it on a path to having a special place in the world; that it is a land of unrivalled opportunity; and that it has a unique role to play in global affairs.