In American culture, there are many different values, cultures, and creeds that shape the way we all exist as Americans. All of these factors are influential in creating traditions, societal norms, and unique viewpoints on issues we face today. At the core of the American Society, people having different values, cultures, and ideals all shape the American Identity of everyone being unique.
Values are the fundamental beliefs that a person holds and impacts people’s actions. Some values that are often consistent with the American peoples are individualism, equality, and achievement. People like to take pride in their work and what they have built for themselves, and at that, be proud of their individual accomplishments and achievements both in work and in the family. Equality is also a strong value held among many Americans. As we see more and more issues becoming uncovered it is still a clear problem that does not have a simple solution. Equality has been an issue that many people have fought for since the very beginning of our country, and yet it is still a problem prevalent in today’s society. As stated here in a paper by L. Robert Khols on American Values, “In secular terms, this belief [equality] is translated into the assertion that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed in life” (Khols). Equality deems that every American should share equal opportunity. This does not mean free success, however. Theoretically, we should all share equal chances for opportunity and success. I think that the value that is above all others is equality and shared equal opportunity.
Personal culture is a lifestyle within your family or that is impacted by you or your family’s past. We all use our history and the country’s history to make decisions on life and what is correct. According to William Patterson University, “People need to develop a sense of their collective past. Events in the past have made us what we are today” (William Patterson). This means that when people look at their collective history, they can find a sense of similarity with others, bringing unity to the people. Other cultural values that vary by the person are religious beliefs. As said here, “Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.” (Fagan). Both Religion and History are important pieces that connect to make one’s personal identity.
Identity is what makes everyone who they are. No Americans share the exact same history, background, or beliefs, resulting in a broad spectrum of different personal identities. However, because we are all Americans, we share some of the same core values such as equality for all and the importance of family. Because of this, we are all united as one, the American People. That is our shared identity.