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How has individualism affected American culture?

The dictionary defines individualism as...

Belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence.

A doctrine advocating freedom from government regulation in the pursuit of a person's economic goals.

A doctrine holding that the interests of the individual should take precedence over the interests of the state or social group.

President Herbert Hoover gave us the term "rugged individualism" in a speech he made on October 22, 1928. http://www.pinzler.com/ushistory/ruggedsupp.html

The belief in the supremacy of the individual is a strongly rooted principle in America. While most of the rest of the world values the whole over the part, America provides an exception. Asian, African and Latin civilizations typically value the group over the individual. The unity and cohesion of the group is almost always taken into account first and then the desires or "rights" of the individual may be evaluated. In America we tend to value the individual over the group. My rights individually are, many times, esteemed to be of more importance than the rights of the group.

Read the rest of this post for a discussion of how individualism has affected America historically, how it is at work today, and possible implications for the future.

Solution Preview

The dictionary defines individualism as...

Belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence.

A doctrine advocating freedom from government regulation in the pursuit of a person's economic goals.

A doctrine holding that the interests of the individual should take precedence over the interests of the state or social group.

President Herbert Hoover gave us the term "rugged individualism" in a speech he made on October 22, 1928. http://www.pinzler.com/ushistory/ruggedsupp.html

The belief in the supremacy of the individual is a strongly rooted principle in America. While most of the rest of the world values the whole over the part, America provides an exception. Asian, African and Latin civilizations typically value the group over the individual. The unity and cohesion of the group is almost always taken into account first and then the desires or "rights" of the individual may be evaluated. In America we tend to value the individual over the group. My rights individually are, many times, esteemed to be of more importance than the rights of the group.

Thailand provides an interesting modern day example of individual versus group rights. In Thailand it is a crime to speak badly of the king. If you criticize the king in public you can be turned in and fined or put in jail. Are the people worried about their freedom of speech being violated? No, I don't even believe they think about it in these terms. They realize that if the head is attacked the body suffers. If the leader is attacked the nation will experience turmoil.

See the following website to read about the seriousness of speaking against the king in ...

Solution Summary

A discussion of how the concept of individualism has helped shape American culture. Over 1,100 words of original text with citations included.

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