38. The Amer ican Character 1
What do Americans believe in2? What is the American character? These questions are hard to answer, because there are so many Americans and they believe in so many different things. However, the history of the United States does provide some understanding of certain basic characteristics that many Americans share .
One of the main reasons why the early settlers came to America was to escape the controls they had experienced in Europe. 3 There , small groups of wealthy people prevented them from moving into a higher social position or becoming wealthy, and governmentsupported churches controlled their religious practices and beliefs. Because these early settlers wanted to be free from such controls, they brought to America the view that the individual was supremely important. The settlers were against the efforts of the church, the society, and particularly the government, to control their actions. These controls came to be viewed as