As noted by previous educators, Williams identified the twelve core values in US society as individualism, achievement and success, activity and work, efficiency and practicality, science and technology, progress, material comfort, humanitarianism, freedom, democracy, equality, and racism and group superiority. In sociology, these are called macro-level values, which means that they refer to the values of United States society as a whole rather than looking at small differences on an individual (micro) or community (meso) level. So while these values might not align with those of every person living in the United States, Williams is saying that they generally define values that people in the country tend to share.
While Williams noted twelve distinct values, closer analysis demonstrates how these twelve are related to one another. Individualism has always been a big part of the culture of the United States. The notion that people can make it on their own through their own hard work and determination is at the heart of ideologies like the American Dream. The push towards individualism encourages productivity and creativity, but it also often allows political and economic leaders to avoid taking responsibility for inequity by claiming that if people are struggling, it is because they are not working hard enough. This glorification of making it on one's own also demonstrates how much the country celebrates achievement, success, activity, and work.
While the country encourages independent work, it tends to place more value on practical types of work that seek efficient solutions to common problems, like engineering, and less value on work such as the study of the humanities or arts. This value is tied to the value placed on science and technology and the desire to be the most progressive global leader in technological advancements. Similarly, the desire for technological development is connected with the value placed on material comfort and making daily life as easy as possible. As the country strives to be a global leader in such fields, it also values coming across as humanitarian and displaying its power and success through attempting to help countries who are in need.
The last four values that Williams identified—freedom, democracy, equality, and racism and group superiority—may seem to contradict one another. That is because while the country was founded on the ideologies of freedom, democracy, and equality, it was built by white men seeking freedom from the British government. These men instilled their values into the political and social structures of this country, and the country has yet to change along with the times. Thus, racism is still embedded in the social fabric of the nation, from large-scale institutions like those of the prison industrial complex to small-scale interpersonal interactions.