There were many ideas, traditions, and values that shaped our nation up to 1877. One of these was the concept of hard work. There was a belief that if a person worked hard, they would be successful. (The flip side of this is that a person who wasn't successful was often viewed as lazy. This concept tended to blame the individual for not being successful.) We also believed this country was a land of opportunity. If people had ideas, they were free to run with and develop them. It was expected that the government would not interfere (laissez faire) when people came up with ideas and new business plans. We also believed this was a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Government would protect people's rights and not hold back the initiative of the individual. We believed people should elect their leaders who would work for the people and who would put the country's interests ahead of their own interests. Family was also valued during this time. Sunday was a day for family and religion. Little or no business would be done on Sunday. There were many values, ideas, and traditions that shaped our nation up to 1877. Some of these still exist today.