Individualism In Robert Bellah's Habits Of The Heart

1565 Words 7 Pages
“Habits of the Heart” by Robert Bellah discusses how individualism is rooted in the heart of American culture. Bellah points the different American cultures that exist across the country, which all have one value in common: the emphasis on the individual. In America, each person should be given the opportunity to strive towards their own will for their life. Another thing Robert Bellah brings up is that community is important in creating a balance between individualism and public life, because people who only focused on dreams for themselves would ruin the country. He talks about the different types of individualism and which ones are the issues. I think that he is right by stating that Americans have several things in common that unite them, …show more content…
The major dilemma that is discussed in the essay “Habits of the Heart” by Robert Bellah is whether or not Americans are far too individualistic. Bellah recognizes that individualism is at the heart of American traditions, and he even calls individualism America’s “deepest identity.”1 America was established on ideas of individual rights that ought to be fully protected. John Locke, a political philosopher with a great deal of influence on America, held the idea that all humans had certain rights for themselves, and that each person would be happy to give up a few of those rights so that there would be a governing body that could provide protection.2 The phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” from the Declaration of Independence speaks of what it means to be an American (US 1776). To be able to live a life for one’s own self, where the private life is the center of contentment and prosperity, is the American Dream. Kevin L. Doolie writes about Alexis De Tocqueville and his political theories and says that De Tocqueville was right in thinking that early American colonies heavily influenced the rest of America. The religious thought and belief for a ruling authority connected them to realize that they needed a government to have

Related Documents