American Moral Values and how They Vary From Other Cultures

Moral values are acceptable standards which govern an individual, society and the nation's behavior and choices in defining what is right and wrong (Boss, 2013). A person can derive his morals from the community, religion or the government. However, when an individual derives his/her moral values from the society or the government, that person changes as the laws and morals of the social change (Thompson, 2010). Thus, moral values are set of principles which helps a person become a good human being.

These values entail a lot of factors such as loving others, respecting others, morality, etc. Therefore, this paper seeks to evaluate the American moral values and consequently determine how they are dealt with in other cultures.

The cultural values of the United States of America are predominantly Western. However, it is influenced by the Latin Americans, Asians, African and the Native American cultures (Edward Stewart, 2011). Thus, it has distinctive collective characteristics such as social habits, music, folklore, and arts. Consequently, due to the large number of migration from several other countries, America inhabits people from diverse ethnical and racial backgrounds.

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As a result, the cultural elements of several people in America has been spread all over the world. Subsequently, the American moral values stands as the most prominent cultural force at the moment (Neil Campbell, 2016).

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The cultural value system of America enables the country to integrate immigrants from different cultural background across the globe, hence creating a distinctive and a universal cultural identity. Thus, among the values of the American includes but not limited to individuality, equality of opportunity and hard work (Neil Campbell, 2016). The unique relationship between these values makes up the American society. A society that believes in individual freedom, hard work and equal opportunities to each and every person.(Edward Stewart, 2011).

Thus, the United States of America is a strong advocate of individual freedom. The American’s moral values emphasize on independence on the personal levels (Neil Campbell, 2016). American citizens are encouraged to be independent and develop their individual goals during their early stages of life. They are encouraged not to depend too much on others but instead focus on working harder to reach their own goals (Edward Stewart, 2011).

Additionally, the moral values of American people emphasize the equality of opportunities among its citizens. The United States of America upholds the idea that everyone is created equal. Thus all people living in America have the same rights (Edward Stewart, 2011). These include all men and women from different ethnicity, religious affiliations and cultural backgrounds residing in America. Consequently, America has rules and regulations that safeguards the right of people to equal opportunities. For instance, high profile personnel holding public offices are often addressed by their first name or by titles such as “Sir” or “Madam” (Neil Campbell, 2016). The use of titles when addressing people in authority is meant to demonstrate equality of people regardless of their ethnical background.

Finally, the American moral values believe in achieving goals and success through hard work. For instance, most foreign visitors are always overwhelmed at how achievement oriented Americans are. A competitive spirit is often their primary driving force; it motivates them to work harder. They uphold the idea that hard work pays. As a results, Americans are always in competition with themselves. However, they also compete with others as well. Therefore, most people living in America upholds the idea of the American Dream. They believe that it provides an opportunity for them to improve their lives and consequently their standard of living. The price of hard work is success (Neil Campbell, 2016).

As demonstrated above, the American moral values are not uniquely American, but rather universal. The values of individuality, equality, and hard work are advocated for not only in America but also in many other various countries all over the world (Boss, 2013). Notwithstanding the diverse ethnic and cultural background, most countries believe in social equality, in which people of the same status are treated equally. Also, just like the America moral values, many other nations uphold the ideal of individual freedom and hard work (Thompson, 2010). Most countries believe that achievements can only be attained through hard work.

Equality, individuality and hard work cultural values are dealt in other cultures just like it is done in America. For instance, there are laws and policies in each country that protects the rights to equality to people living in those countries. Additionally, there is an emphasis on addressing managers, directors and other high profile personnel holding public offices by their first name. Individual freedom is addressed by encouraging people to be independent and develop their own goals during their early stages of life. Finally, hard work is often a competitive spirit and a dominant driving force for success.

In conclusion, we can achieve an upright and righteous behavior if follow the moral values with utmost honesty (Boss, 2013). Ultimately, reading moral stories is an excellent way to learn and to be informed more about moral values. Thus, when we love and respect others and work with honesty and particularly when only doing what is right, we transform ourselves into better persons (Thompson, 2010). Consequently, moral values play a significant role in shaping the character and personality of an individual and by extension enabling a person find out his true purpose in life. Therefore, moral values give people happiness, confidence, and immense gratification. As a result, a person transforms into a gentle human being who is beautiful inside out.

Works cited

  1. Boss, J. A. (2013). Ethics for life: A text with readings. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
  2. Campbell, N. (2016). American cultural studies: An introduction to American culture. Routledge.
  3. Edward Stewart, S. (2011). Anthropology and the American character: Reflections on anthropological fieldwork in the United States. Springer.
  4. Thompson, M. (2010). Moral responsibility of a leader: Lessons from Winston Churchill. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 8(6), 57-68.
  5. Hu, X., & Wei, C. (2016). A comparative study of the concept of hard work in the Chinese and American cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 47(6), 807-818.
  6. Renshon, S. A. (2018). The moral psychology of exceptionalism: Americans' fundamental belief in the superiority of their nation. Political Psychology, 39(S1), 3-26.
  7. Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2014). Prosocial spending and happiness: Using money to benefit others pays off. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(1), 41-47.
  8. Schwartz, S. H. (2011). Values: Importance, measurement, and stability. The Oxford Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education, 71-88.
  9. Kagitçibasi, C. (2013). Family, self, and human development across cultures: Theory and applications. Routledge.
  10. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (2010). Cultures and selves: A cycle of mutual constitution. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(4), 420-430.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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American Moral Values and how They Vary From Other Cultures. (2024, Feb 08). Retrieved from

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