The term American Exceptionalism historically refers to the notion that the United States is set apart from other nations, the global defender of justice, evangelizing democracy and capitalism throughout every corner of the Earth. It's been used in other ways, co-opted by political movements, transformed into a feeling not just of uniqueness, but superiority.
In my mind, when I think of the ways in which America is exceptional, I don't turn to globalization, or mercantilism, or ideology. To me, the American spirit of people making their way independently and enjoying the opportunities to do so is what defines this country as Exceptional.
On those terms, I present a series I call American Exceptionalism, profiles of people who've managed to conquer the odds, build their own business, and follow their dreams outside the world of traditional employment.