The Damned Soul
Initial responses to such tragedies often included prayer, discussions about the lack of God in schools and the presence of evil, even Satan, in American life, represented symptomatically by all the so-called social ills one could list. As an all-knowing being who was interested primarily in the collective fate of humanity or the individual soul of each person struggling to make sense out of finite existence. In Europe God was supported by ecclesiastical structures through feudalism, and later, by political ones in liberal democracies. In the United States, too, God was often thought of as interested in the special mission of the country to demonstrate to others just how its superior faith and hard work would pay off in the form of the shining city on the hill. This is the famous thesis of American Exceptionalism, and it is the ever-present nativism behind each and every expression of nationalism in the United States.