What are American Values/Ideals?

Conversation Guide

The current polarized climate might suggest we have deep disagreements about American values/ideals, and live out of conflicting understandings. But what exactly are American values/ideals? What do you most value about the United States? Do they derive from our founding documents, so you look to “the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? Or the Constitution and Bill of Rights — protecting the rights of individuals from government overreach, foreign threats and the passions of the people. Or do they derive from something else entirely? Let’s rediscover our shared American values/ideals.

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on What are American Values/Ideals??

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • What are you most proud of as an American? Is there anything of which you are ashamed? How do each of these relate to our values?
  • What would you define as “American values”? How are these unique to our country, or are they?
  • If you were describing American values to someone, what would you say?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Please complete the feedback form to help us continue to improve Living Room Conversations.

Thank You!

Close Menu