Sociologist Robin Williams attempted to offer a list of basic values in the United States:
Achievement, efficiency, material comfort, nationalism, equality and the supremacy of science and reason, over faith.
There are certain ideals and values, rooted in the country’s history, which many Americans share. These are: FREEDOM, INDIVIDUALISM, PRAGMATISM, VOLUNTEERISM, MOBILITY, PATRIOTISM, PROGRESS, AMERICAN DREAM.
FREEDOM – Americans commonly regard their society as the freest and best in the world. Americans’ understanding of freedom is shaped by the Founding Fathers’ belief that all people are equal and that the role of the government is to protect each person’s basic “inalienable” rights. The U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights assures individual rights, including provisions for freedom of speech, press and religion. No one single church dominates or controls in the US, there is a religious diversity.
INDIVIDUALISM – Americans’ notion of freedom focuses on the individual, and individualism has strong philosophical roots in America. Thomas Jefferson believed that a free individual’s identity should be held sacred and that his or her dignity and integrity should not be violated. America’s 19th c. Transcendentalists philosophers (Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller) argued for more individual self-reliance. Encouraged individuals to trust in themselves and their own consciences and to revolt against routine and habitual paths of conduct. Early 20th c. Pragmatists (James, Dewey) insisted upon the individual’s ability to control his or her fate.
Individualism, understood not only as self-reliance but also as economic self-sufficiency, has been a central theme in American history (frontiers heroes who braved the wilderness alone, farmers whose success depended on their ability to confront the hardships of land and resourcefulness, the celebration of the small businessman who became a financial success on his own; individual