An English political scientist transplanted to America examines the question of American exceptionalism. Is the politics of the U.S. really all that different from politics in other advanced industrial democracies? Does America have more in common with other modern democracies than with its own past? To answer these questions, Graham K. Wilson selects several major areas of comparison: the size and scope of government, the nature of beliefs about politics and government, subjects of political debate, patterns of public policy, and the character of political institutions. Refuting the traditional theory of path dependency, Wilson's conclusions challenge the reader to question popular beliefs about American politics and consider new interpretations of international political experience.