An influential 1955 book, Protestant, Catholic, Jew by Will Herberg, identified the American Way of Life, politically "compounded almost equally of democracy and free enterprise", as the "common religion" of American society:
The American Way of life is individualistic, dynamic, pragmatic. It affirms the supreme value and dignity of the individual; it stresses incessant activity on his part, for he is never to rest but is always to be striving to "get ahead"; it defines an ethic of self-reliance, merit, and character, and judges by achievement: "deeds, not creeds" are what count. The "American Way of Life" is humanitarian, "forward-looking", optimistic. Americans are easily the most generous and philanthropic people in the world, in terms of their ready an unstinting response to suffering anywhere on the globe. The American believes in progress, in self-improvement, and quite fanatically in education. But above all, the American is idealistic. Americans cannot go on making money or achieving worldly success simply on its own merits; such "materialistic" things must, in the American mind, be justified in "higher" terms, in terms of "service" or "stewardship" or "general welfare"... And because they are so idealistic, Americans tend to be moralistic; they are inclined to see all issues as plain and simple, black and white, issues of morality.As one commentator notes, "the first half of Herberg's statement still holds true nearly half a century after he first formulated it", even though "Herberg's latter claims have been severely if not completely undermined... materialism no longer needs to be justified in high-sounding terms".
In the National Archives and Records Administration's 1999 Annual Report, National Archivist John W. Carlin writes, "We are different because our government and our way of life are not based on the divine right of kings, the hereditary privileges of elites, or the enforcement of deference to dictators. They are based on pieces of paper, the Charters of Freedom - the Declaration that asserted our independence, the Constitution that created our government, and the Bill of Rights that established our liberties."
In the 1900 Jack London (1876-1916), Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945), Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941), Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953), Clifford Odets (1906-1963), T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), John Dos Passos (1896-1970), Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) e Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956).
From 1900 to 1950, Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), William Faulkner (1897-1962), Henry Miller (1891-1980), Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), John Steinbeck (1902-1968), Richard Wright (1908-1960), William Saroyan (1908-1981), Nelson Algren (1909-1981), Paul Bowles (1910-1999), Jerome Salinger (1919-vivente), Norman Mailer (1923-2007), Gore Vidal (1925-vivente).
The Cuban writer H. Zumbado had a book published in 1981 under the title El American Way, satirizing the American way of life. The also Cuban humorist and writer Juan Ángel Cardi wrote a novel entitled El American Way of Death, published in 1981, also satirizing the American Way of Life.
REP. NANCY PELOSI'S REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY ON RECEIPT OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY'S SPIRIT OF LIBERTY AWARD
Sep 26, 2007; REP. PELOSI'S REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY ON RECEIPT OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY'S SPIRIT OF LIBERTY AWARD, AS...