“Traditional American values” consist of individual freedom, equality of opportunity, material wealth, self-reliance, competition and hard work. The values emerged and began to define the American character in the context of cultural pluralism in the late 1700s. These values help the immigrants to achieve American Dream. Since America has been viewed as “the land of opportunity”, many immigrants from all over the worlds came to catch this chance especially to achieve “American Dream”.
According to Datesman in The American Ways ( An Introduction to American Culture), the first value and the most basic of all the American values is individual freedom. In 1776, the British colonial settlers declared their independence from England and established a new nation, the United States of America as a desire to be free of control of kings and governments, priests and churches, noblemen and aristocrats. As the result, they created a climate of freedom where the emphasis was on the individual. By freedom, Americans mean the desire and the ability of all individuals to control their own destiny without outside interference.
The next value is self reliance which is a price that must be paid for individual freedom. Individual must learn to rely on themselves. It means that Americans believe they should take care of themselves, solve their own problems, and “stand on their own two feet”.
Equality of opportunity is a belief that each individual should have an equal chance to enter the race, win and to achieve their success. De Tocqueville in 1830s said that “The more I advanced in the study of American society, the more I perceived that…equality of the condition is the fundamental fact from which all others seem to be derived” (Datesman 25).
Competition is the price to be paid for equality of opportunity. Being an American is a must to compete with others in order to succeed. Learning to compete successfully is part of growing up in the United States...