Pluralism: the Fundamental Element of America Culture When we see the United Nations Headquarters towering in the midst of bustling New York City downtown located at the tip of Manhattan Island, and the star-spangled banner flying above ancient lands of the unstable Middle East and bringing democracy and peace upon there, we have to admit that the United States of America is one of the greatest countries in the world. The world's attention is on the situation of this rising superpower. Leaders of other countries, scholars, people around the world are all wondering what fundamental element accounting for the success of the United States of America, creates the basis for this great nation. From my opinion, the idea of pluralism, which is being popular in American society, provides the foundation of the culture of the United States, The meaning of pluralism was briefly defined by Diana L. Eck, a scholar of religious studies, as well as a Master of Lowell House and the Director of The Pluralism Project at Harvard. According to her, pluralism "is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity; it is not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference; it is not relativism, but the encounter of commitments." Pluralism, permeating throughout the spirits of American people, can be embodied in the core values of the United States of America. The materials from our textbooks conclude that there are generally four core values of the United States of America. Equality, individualism, freedom could actually all be derived from pluralism. Freedom is the value that proclaims that people should be free to think, speak, and act as they choose. People lived in a free world are eager to express their ideas without restraints and limitations. Therefore, this kind of world requires distinctive opinions from various viewpoints, which form the pluralism. Individualism is also based on pluralism. Businessmen are well aware that a brand selling products with novelty and innovations will always be successful. Likewise, a society with different ideas from each independent individuals will always be thriving, as long as the "different ideas", diversity is presented in the society. Equality refers to the value that holds that all people must be treated fairly and with dignity and be able to embrace opportunities for education, economic success, political involvement, and a fulfilling life. "Fair treatment" is the key word in this definition. Recall that pluralism is the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference. In another word, it allows you being able to respect and understand other ideas. Let's assume that if everybody despises each other and disregards their thoughts, how can you anticipate that each person will be treated fairly with dignity? Obviously, there is no equality without pluralism. Sometimes, the term pluralism may sound like a vague abstraction. It seems too irrelevant from our real world. However, throughout history, Americans were always trying to protect this "abstraction". The belief of pluralism has already been embedded in the American spirit by the centuries of war and peace. Two hundred and twenty-six years ago, this belief led the first president of the United States of America, George Washington to assure the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island, that the United States "gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance." During the A ge of E xplor ation , thousands of immigrants having different faiths and nationalities, came to the New World for a single purpose, seeking toleration and freedom. A simple dream that William Penn, one of those famous colonists, hoped to achieve, to build a diversified u topia of love, peace, and toleration of all in Pennsylvania, ultimately turned into a major fighting goal in the American War of Independent. The founding fathers sacrificed their energy and life to defend the belief of pluralism that had been despoiled by the British crown in the America continent. After the war, to maintain this valuable achievement, they then built a nation with liberty and pluralism called the United States of America. In 19 th century, fearing that slavery would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries; Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president of