National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2005


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 6:1, Spring/Summer 2005. Copyright © 2005 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


There is an ingrained notion in American culture that individuals are responsible for their circumstances. In the Great Depression, people blamed themselves for unemployment, as if somehow their personal character flaws, rather than a breakdown of the national economy, had caused them to be laid off. At a visceral level, Americans reject the idea that they are in the grip of vast forces beyond their control.