Conclusion: Cooperative Individualism
You and I must fight as never before to make our government realize the ideals upon which it was founded.... We must help save the soul of our own nation . . . so we can really save the world.
—Mary Bethune, “Americans All, Which Way America?”
merican optimism and idealism reached a high watermark in 1938. Despite the hangover from the Great Depression, and the looming prospect of a second world war, Henry Luce felt justified in proclaiming the dawning of “the American Century,” a period when the core values of the United States would set the standard for the world. He described these values as follows:
a love of freedom, a feeling for the equality of opportunity, a tradition of self-reliance ...