How do shared values influence American society and relationships?  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Our shared values play a huge role in determining what our society looks like.  For example, the value of individualism shapes our society and our relationships, making us a society that is at once very free but also somewhat atomized.

We generally share the value that our individual rights are the most important thing.  We think these are more important than the overall good of the community.  This makes us a very free society.  It allows us to dress how we want to and to act more or less as we like.  This is very liberating.  At the same time, however, it atomizes us.  We tend not to be very close with very many other people because we are relentlessly pursuing what we see as best for us as individuals.  We tend to be less interested in our neighbors and our communities as we care mostly about our own individual interests.