The United States is founded on moral principles. These are the basic values held by the American people and help to shape the American culture we see today. Three of the American principles are self-reliance, freedom, and equality of opportunity. The following paragraphs give a detailed discussion of the three moral values, how they influence the United States culture and how other nations relate to them.
Individual freedom and self-reliance are one of the major American values. By the value of freedom, the Americans mean that they desire and believe that all individuals have a right to determine and take control their own destiny without being interfered by outside forces such as government, church, ruling class or any other ruling authority (Eakin, 2004). This right of freedom is clearly enshrined in the American constitution after the United States got independence from the British colonialists in 1776. However, the cost of this freedom is to self-reliance. Individuals must rely on themselves to enjoy this value otherwise they risk losing their freedom. The Americans are trained to take responsibility for their lives. Traditionally, achieving this freedom has been taken to achieve a financial and emotional independence, especially in the course of growing up, usually by the age of twenty-one. The value of self-reliance has played an important role in the building of the American character. Most of them believe that if you get support from any person or organization, your freedom is lost and they have no power over your life.
The moral value of equality of opportunity in United States is one the most important values from that has been in since the modern America came into being. All people in the United States believe they have equal chances of success (BSAD, 2014). They see life as a race in which everyone has an equal chance to enter the race and run to win. There are places or their birth or class of their parents determines nations that the opportunities one have in life. However, Americans of all walks have always worked there to the top because of given equal opportunities to succeed. This value is believed to attract many immigrants into the country who come from places the equal opportunity is not given to all. However, the price of equal opportunity is competition. Just as life is a race all must compete fairly with one other to win (Eakin, 2004). It is the responsibility of each to enter the race and run the race to win. From young children, the Americans are taught the art of competition so they can always stand a higher chance of succeeding in life. In school, strong programs and sports are provided to ensure the kids grasp the spirit of competition at a prime age. Those who do not compete successfully do not feel fit in the country since everybody believes they should compete and win.
American moral values in other cultures
The American moral values are not unique to the American culture only. Most nations in the world do hold these moral values in similar importance as they are held in United States. However, much of other nations may have these rights; they were just established recently in other countries. In Britain for instance, there is the royal family, which consists of the ruling class (Newport, 2015). To be part of the royal family, there is no an equal opportunity for all. It is just preserved for a specific lineage. Therefore, in such a case the equal opportunities for all are granted to all. Similarly, many European nations were controlled by kings, noblemen, lords, and priests among others. They ruling system was not separated from the church, government and the people (Inglehart & Baker, 2000). The Americans, on the other hand, wrote the constitution limiting the power of the church over the state or the people. This forbids the establishment of the aristocratic and nobility societies. This has a profound effect on the American and other nations. Today, things have changed in the Europeans countries, and all have the same opportunity in most cases. However, in some countries in Asia and Africa, the equal opportunities are not given to all. The lack of this value in their culture has led to constant wars as individuals fight over resources and power. Rules in those countries do not want to cede power since they fear the opportunities will leave them. In such countries, ethnic affiliations and other differences are the main issues that determine what opportunities one would get in their country.
Many countries in North American and Western Europe upholds the value of the individual freedom as United States. However, in other countries especially, the communists’ states such as China or Russia, the individual freedom is limited. The government has the ultimate power over people or the ruling classes (Schwartz, 2006). People depend on the government for basic things, and their rights and freedom is curtailed. The people in those countries are usually poor since they rely on the government for many issues (Newport, 2015). Therefore, the value of self-reliance is also not held strongly. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa rely on relief aid from their government and other countries. Therefore, these people have low self-reliance, and much of their freedom is taken away. In some nations in the world, some resources are controlled by the government to ensure that people are not very wealthy lest the government lose their control.
The above mentioned moral values of America, individual freedom, self-reliance and equal opportunities are also held in a majority of the developed countries. However, the developing countries, especially countries without shrank rights on democracy the values are not strongly upheld.