American Individualism was founded on several elements: One element that has to do with American Individualism is composed of two separate perspectives: America as a “unique” culture in itself and Americans as people who are “Independent Individuals.” A second element could be the idea of Independent Individualism, which has to do with individuals and not society as a whole; A third element may include the Protestant Ethic, which was established by John
Calvin, Martin Luther and practiced by the Pilgrims who arrived in the New World seeking religious freedom; Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement established in the 1830s and 1840s in New England; The concept of the American Dream is a fifth element; America
founding a democracy, unlike most European nations, including that of England; A seventhelement may be the idea of capitalism and a free-market society; Another element that could be considered a special quality of American Individualism is the role robber barons in the United States; American Individualism is also defined and confirmed with studies by Geert Hofstede, who is a well-known Dutch professor; Individualistic vs. collectivist nations; Another element is the role of immigrants in America and how they identify themselves and how they are identified by Americans; Another element would be the comparison of the U.S. and England; A thirteenth element would be the logic behind the Declaration of Independence; States’ Rightswould be another one; Another element would be freedom of speech.
American Individualism can be defined in two different perspectives:
- America as a “unique” culture in itself
- Americans as people who are “Independent Individuals”
The first perspective looks at American Individualism with respect to the United States of America and the qualities that make it “unique.” In other words, American culture has several key elements that make it distinct. These elements include Protestantism, Transcendentalism,
democracy, Robber Barons, capitalism and Independent Individualism among others. Many would agree that no other nation on Earth has the “unique” combination of attributes that make
America its own distinct culture.
The second perspective looks at American Individualism with respect to the individual people living in America. America, as most would probably agree is made up of many different kinds of people. With America being as multi-cultural and progressive as it is, more and more people are wanting to be less like their traditional family genre and more like their own kind of person. This can be seen with evidence in America’s pop culture. Higher divorce rates indicate that less people are getting married and staying married and more people are staying single longer. According to Stuart Mitchell (2011), “The total number of divorces that occurred in 2010 came to 119,589 representing a 4.9% increase on 2009’s 113,949 divorces” (2010 Divorce Rates and Trends, para. 2). People of different ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations have a greater tolerance for others who are not like them than they used to. There are many other factors that suggest an increase in Americans becoming Independent Individuals. The American
Psychological Association (2012) defines both Independent1
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