Doubts about American exceptionalism became louder and more frequently expressed during the Vietnam War. The society that had seen itself and been seen by most people in the West as progressive, hard-working,
practical, and generous-traits regularly mentioned by non-Americans surveyed for a UNESCO study carried out shortly after World War II by Hadley Cantril and William Buchanan (1953)—came to be viewed by foreign intellectuals and political elites as just the latest imperialist power. And in the United States too, self-doubt became more common and the idea that America had anything to teach the world when it came to democracy was questioned by a growing number of people. Government support for repressive regimes and political assassinations in Latin America and elsewhere fueled this disillusionment with what previously had been a rarely challenged belief in American exceptionalism. If America was exceptional, counter-culture critics said, it was in ways that were not worthy of admiration or emulation.