By Melissa Lee
In our current unit of our AP US Government class, we’re learning about American political culture—that is, how America is unique in terms of its ideas, principles, and tendencies. So far, I’ve found this unit to be highly interesting because I find that I really identify with American political culture. Individualism, capitalism, the belief in equality of opportunity so that all individuals can better their situations through personal efforts and talents—such ideas make up the core of my set of beliefs.
What I find to be truly interesting is the overall uniqueness of American political culture. By no means is America the only democratic nation in the world. However, in various surveys and statistical measures, Americans have consistently proven to follow a unique trend in values. More so than citizens of other nations, Americans believe that it is not the government’s responsibility to ensure that individuals have a reasonable standard of living. While all individuals should be given an equal opportunity to better their situations, from that point, it is up to the individual’s personal efforts and dedication to ensure success. Furthermore, as surveys show, Americans strongly believe in the “Rule of Law,” or the idea that everyone should be treated equally before the law, even government officials.
However, as I’ve also discovered by analyzing demographic charts and graphs, America is far from being a homogeneous nation. The United States is inhabited by individuals of various different ethnicities (Hispanic, African American, Asian), religions (Protestants, Catholics), income brackets (upper class, middle class, and those in poverty), and political leanings (Republicans, Democrats). It is important to be aware of these differences as well, for they are another part of what makes the United States truly unique.
In the end, America is a land of great diversity. However, it is also a land where individuals are bound together by common ideas of liberty and equality. In the end, these common ideas are what help various individuals come together as the United States of America.
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