American Symbols Americans have embraced a number of concrete symbols to stand for the abstract American ideals discussed in this chapter. The best example is the American flag, which we honor as a symbol of the United States. The soaring eagle is another significant American symbol that stands for freedom. In popular culture, the trio of mom, baseball, and apple pie encapsulates what many see as the core of American identity. American Attitudes Toward Government A skepticism about government and its abilities has always been a key component of American political culture. From the founding of the republic, Americans worried about excessive governmental power, choosing instead to put their faith in individuals and private groups. French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, for example, pointed out that Americans are far more likely than other peoples to join together to solve a problem in his two-volume book Democracy in America (1835, 1840). Many people have seen and continue to see the government as a
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