The curious life of Lewis Littlepage, an American-born courtier in late eighteenth century Europe, revealed the true nature of the United States' exceptional identity and highlighted the negative effects of social refinement on its unique character. It was discovered, through an examination of Littlepage's life, that the uniqueness of the U.S. (its exceptionalism) was ultimately a product of its citizens' self-control. The earliest concern of our founders, the creators of the grand American experiment to prove that humans were capable of self-government, was how to produce citizens capable of controlling themselves and supporting a republican government. Answering this question, Thomas Jefferson and other founders concluded that Americans needed a practical republican education and proper role models. The purpose of this training was to teach them how to pursue the common good by controlling their own ambitions, dedicating themselves to republican principles rather than to rulers, and persevering in the face of hardship.