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Americans and individualism The United States of America is the land of the free the land of opportunity and the wealthiest country in the world a country that half the modern world is modeled after Its President is referred to as the Leader of the free world Thousands of people come to this country every year learning about the country in hopes of becoming citizens William Hudson in his book American Democracy in Peril talks about the seven biggest challenges to this democratic nation Individualism can be seen as a gift or a curse depending on the context in which it occurs Because modern society finds it important that people think independently decide autonomously and take personal initiatives the concept of individualism has acquired a positive connotation However individualism is also linked with the tendency to withdraw from social life and turn in towards oneself Alexis de Tocqueville described individualism as the cool and considered attitude which drives people to withdraw into a small enclosed world consisting of their family and a few select friends leaving the rest of society to its own devices The most obvious problem stemming from the process of individualism is of a socio-economic nature and concerns the problem of solidarity If the link between the community and the individual becomes less strong to what extent will an individual experience social problems in which he or she is not immediately implicated as his or her problems To what extent are people in an individualistic society prepared to consider the problems of others as their own This is a crucial question for society since it places the legitimacy of many social institutions and political structures in question Whoever accepts that individualism is a fact will consider political life to be an incessant clash of interests on the part of people who are only in it for the sake of personal power or an increase in personal fortune While they
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