Unlike in Europe where house elves are looked at as slaves, in the United States, house elves have been given full freedom under the House Elf Liberation Act.
House elves came to the colonies with their wizard masters. Most, if not all, house elves were not paid any wage for their services and a good many were looked at as little more than slaves. However, when the Northern wizarding community led the advocation for the emancipation of African-American slaves, house elves began to hope for freedom. The Civil War began in 1860 and, in time, led to the freedom of over 4 million slaves.
In 1873, a second war was waged, though this one was never understood to be a war by the Muggle community. In this war, house elves fought alongside guerilla liberationists against their wizard enslavers. Inspired by the victory won against the Confederacy, the primarily-Union built militia was able to win the freedom of American house elves.
Today, most house elves still work as housekeepers but some have even risen to greater acclaim. House elves have served as political envoys and one is currently working as the Apparition professor at Marlowe's Thaumaturgical Academy. House elves can also be seen in the Department of Sorcery as advisors, clerks, and even as the personal assistant to the Secretary of Sorcery, Emma Morgan. The most notable house elf of recent years is Lordly, a house elf who became so publically popular that he ran, with major appeal and backing, for the office of Secretary of Sorcery.
Above all, the most important value to house elves is fair wage.