Understanding American Values and Beliefs is a key part of successfully living in America. Americans are known for their values of individualism, independence, equality and liberty.
Many Americans believe in the idea that anyone can achieve success through hard work and determination. This belief is reinforced by their dedication to the value of individualism, a value that rejects group superiority.
Individualism is a value that celebrates independent thought and self-reliance. However, it should be distinguished from egoism and selfishness.
Many Americans believe that they should be able to pursue their own interests without interference from the government or other authorities. This is why they place a high emphasis on freedom of speech, religion and movement.
This view differs from other Western countries where more people believe that success in life is mostly determined by factors beyond their control.
In a country with immigrants from diverse backgrounds, Americans developed a system of values that defines the American culture. These values include individual freedom, equality of opportunity, and the promise of material success through hard work.
The Declaration of Independence states that all people are created equal, and this belief translates into the way Americans view other people. People who visit America are often surprised by the informality with which store clerks and waiters address them. This lack of formality is not rudeness; it is a reflection of the American value of equality.
Privacy is a right enshrined in many national constitutions and international human rights documents. It protects people from being targeted by governments, powerful businesses, or criminals who seek personal information to malign or exploit them.
It’s also a value that motivates people to take care of themselves, for example, by getting a good education. Most Americans strive to have a university degree, and the children of those who don’t go to college are considered to be missing out.
Americans believe in healthy market competition, which leads to lower prices, higher quality products and more innovation. However, they also understand that individual freedom and equality of opportunity are not guaranteed. They must earn these privileges through self-reliance and hard work.
This belief in competition can lead to waste of effort or increased costs, for example in a field like music or movie acting where aspiring artists make significant investments that are never recouped. Americans are also accustomed to being assertive, and many will demand a refund if they feel that they have been unfairly treated in a business transaction.
US Americans believe in the idea that everyone should be equal. This value is closely linked to their belief in democracy and freedom.
They think that people can achieve success and wealth through hard work. However, they also know that this requires a substantial level of responsibility and self-reliance.
Many visitors are surprised by the informality of US American speech and behavior. Americans are uncomfortable with overt displays of deference, such as being bowed to. This value of equality also explains why they are quite comfortable with store clerks and waiters who introduce themselves by their first names.
Informality is an attitude that promotes a casual approach to situations and a friendly relationship with others. This informality is often reflected in speech, which includes many slang words and short phrases that are not quite formal or serious.
Americans value frankness and openness in relationships. They believe that problems and conflicts can be resolved through forthright discussion.
They also value directness in business transactions. For example, they are willing to return merchandise that is defective or does not meet expectations.
Americans are optimistic about the future, believing it is within their power to make it better. This belief is reflected in the robust commercial literature on self-improvement and a focus on efficiency, including a desire to avoid wasting time.
Americans also have high expectations about what technology can accomplish in the future. Most, for example, expect that people needing new organs will soon be able to have them custom grown in a lab. They are also more likely than Western Europeans to say that belief in God is essential to morality.
Most Americans believe that people should be given a fair chance to succeed in life. They view success as a race that individuals can enter and win if they have a desire to work hard and compete with others.
Historically, American values such as individualism and equality of opportunity have influenced immigrants. Today, many of the same principles are still influencing American culture. For example, most Americans want to get a university education and achieve success. But, they also believe that they should take responsibility for their actions.