“The notion that America offers freedom for all í an ideal that unifies Americans and links present to past. Yet this ideal has not always corresponded to reality.” - Americans commonly regard their society as the freest and best in the world Proud when thinking that their country a heaven destination for those longing for freedom and opportunities. all people are equal
all people are equal
- Americans’ understanding of freedom is shaped by:
government protects each person’s basic “inalienable” rights government protects each person’s basic “inalienable” rights
+ Founding Father’ belief:
+ The U.S. Constitution’ Bill of Rights (1971): assures provisions for freedom of speech, press and religion. - Ideal vs. Reality:
+ The inconsistency of black slavery plagued the country and was not resolved until the Civil War.
+ Because of religious, racial, sex or age discrimination, some Americans do not have the same rights and opportunities as others. 2. Idealizing what is practical
“This “can-do” spirit is something Americans are proud of today. They like to think they are natural-born do-it-yourselfers.” - Survival experiences explain the American tendency to idealize whatever is practical. - What works is what counts.
- Americans believed that they would be able to devise workable solutions to the daily problems and dangers they faced. - Highly value “do-it-yourself” spirit: variety of “how-to” books, self-services opportunities. 3. Volunteerism
- People help people through privately initiated rather than government-sponsored. - Volunteers are highly motivated workers who organize themselves and others to solve community problem or meet an immediate social need rather than waiting for someone else to do it. - Volunteerism is pervasive, arising wherever social services do not cover the community needs. - Volunteerism reflects Americans’ optimistic pride in their ability to work out practical...