American values were formed in the country of immigrants who moved to a new country with a hope of success in life of each person endowed with certain abilities and determination to overcome all difficulties on the way to success. Immigrants have successfully overcame the resistance of the Indian population, freed themselves from the dominion of the British crown, cleared the dense forests, settled the Wild West of the country, created an advanced industry, built the skyscrapers, won two world wars and the Cold War against communism, and have made life comfortable for the masses. Everything of this list has been achieved owing to the energy of each individual, who was not hesitating in the own searches of new ways to improve the quality of future life. Thus, we are going to discuss current trends in American values in the body of this paper.
At the beginning of this paper it is important to mention that the concept “American values”, in its essence, means the ideology of America and its national idea – protection of human life and human rights, marriage, family, faith and freedom. This is not a repetition of the constitution or laws, these tenets are not in contradiction with the Christian religion, most likely they are based on it. Moreover, these tenets are considered to be moral and ethical standards for the development of American society.
Observing current trends in American values, we are going to dwell on some of them with more details. The first trend in American values is equality. People in America understand equality as equal opportunities and equality before the law, which make free the inexhaustible energy of the individual. Of course, equal opportunities do not mean universal equality, but American people are always trying to be fair with others, believing that the work of each person will be rewarded according to equal opportunities.
The second trend is individual freedom. We may call it individual freedom, independence or individualism, and all these words will have the same meaning for Americans. The concept of freedom permeates every aspect of American society; moreover, individual rights (as a part of individual freedom) are not only guaranteed by the United States Constitution, but also protected by judicial system (Baker, 2004).
The third trend is a family. It would be correct to say that love of the own family comes first for any American. This point of view is not only widely accepted in society; it is deliberately cultivated and trained in it (Bruun and Getzen, 1995). Many contemporary TV programs or popular series are devoted to the idea of a good family; people discuss this topic and dream about the own good family day after day. In addition, the traditional family values include the basic human values such as love and respect for parents and for children, as well as for all other family members.
The next trend is privacy. Many American laws are oriented on the protection of personal privacy and no one shall be subjected to interference with his own and family privacy, neither arbitrary (or unlawful) interference with his home or correspondence privacy, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor or reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference.
Finally, we can also dwell on American aspiration to the future among the most important values in American ideology. The constant striving for a better future is a source of inexhaustible optimism of Americans. Nowadays Americans are optimistic about the future and confident that God would not hurt them, they only need new efforts to achieve wealth and prosperity. They believe that there are rational ways to overcome difficulties, and if this requires some action then it is important to take them as fast as possible.
In conclusion, we have observed current trends in American values, dwelling on the most popular of them with all necessary details.
Baker, Wayne E. America’s Crisis of Values: Reality and Perception. Princeton University Press, 2004.
Bruun, Erik and Getzen, Robin. The Book of American Values and Virtues. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 1995.