A reader passed this on to me, which is a good dosage of reality for critics who accuse me of making this kind of stuff up, or overemphasizing it.
[Herbert] Hoover's many years overseas had bred in him an acute interest in his own country's distinguishing cultural traits, and in 1922 he gathered his thoughts on this subject into a little book, American Individualism...."Individualism" was, after all, a concept that had been invented to describe a social development considered unique to American society. Alexis de Tocqueville had first given the term currency a century earlier in Democracy in America, in which he declared that "individualism is of democratic origin." It was different from mere selfishness, and in many ways more dangerous because more isolating. Selfishness, said Tocqueville, "leads a man to connect everything to himself, and to prefer himself to everything in the world," but individualism was still more pernicious, because it "disposes each member of the community to sever himself from the mass of his fellows, and to draw apart."