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American Dream

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Values are the beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment. They are principles or qualities intrinsically valuable or desirable. Values are ideas or concepts upon which a society is based. Some of these values are related to the ways in which that society is governed while others are about how people should behave towards each other or towards their country. Here are some of the core American values:

Democracy: Although there are many examples of American government not being overly democratic, the idea that the government does not rule over the people, but that it rules by the people, for the people and is of the people is paramount. Democracy means that it is the people who must decide.

Freedom: This is as basic as life itself. Freedom was the reason why the early settlers came to the New World. Freedom, as well as democracy, was the reason the colonies fought to become a new nation and it is still the reason why many young Americans are willing to fight abroad. Freedom, for the individual, is the ability to decide for yourself what you want to do with your time and with your life. It is not the job of government to dictate what you can do and how you do it.

Individualism: Freedom and individualism go hand in hand. This is the principle that people are individuals and responsible for their own destinies and future. Americans are not raised in a collective system where everyone works together for the common good; instead, they contribute to society by achieving their goals. One should strive to be a self-made man or woman.

Equality:".. .All men are created equal". Even though these words only included certain white men at the time they were penned, today they include everyone, regardless of gender, color or creed - at least on paper. Equality does not mean that Americans believe that everyone will have an equally good life, but just that everyone should have an equal chance to pursue his or her own happiness. Equality also means that family does not determine who the individual is. As the US is supposed to be a classless society; one may at any time climb the social ladder; pedigree is no restriction.

Justice: All people should be treated the same, in public and in a court of law.

Friendliness/Adaptability: When an American student comes home from her first day at school she may very well say that she has made 15 new friends. A European will have a hard time understanding this statement. To the European a friend is someone with whom he has had a long relationship that will last, maybe even a lifetime. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these ways of thinking. The American will make friends easily and will consider acquaintances friends; she will, however, lose contact with most of them. The European will keep his friends for a lifetime, but he will expect a great commitment



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