American Dream

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America is a land built by immigrants, a patchwork of different cultures and creeds. But despite many differences, Americans are held together by the promise of a better life. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Forbes.com, this three-part-series examines the idea of the American Dream. In part one, we ask more than 60 great achievers to answer the question, "What is the American Dream?" In part two, we take a look at the pursuit of property, and an icon of that dream: a house with a white picket fence. And in part three we dissect the promise --and the myth-- that every American has an opportunity to make their dreams come true.

1900
FACTS about this decade.
76,000,000 Americans in 46 states (by the end of the decade.) Policeman arrests woman for smoking in public
$46,000,000+ in the U.S. treasury
8,000 cars - 10 miles of paved roads
1900 - Auto deaths 96; lynching’s 115
San Francisco Earthquake took 700 lives and cost over $4,000,000 in damage. Average worker made $12.98/week for 59 hours
Life expectancy: 47.3 female, 46.3 male - 33.0 blacks
Essay - Birth of the 20th Century

1920
FACTS about this decade.
106,521,537 people in the United States
2,132,000 unemployed, Unemployment 5.2%
Life expectancy: Male 53.6, Female 54.6
343.000 in military (down from 1,172,601 in 1919)
Average annual earnings $1236; Teacher's salary $970
Dow Jones High 100 Low 67
Illiteracy rate reached a new low of 6% of the population. Gangland crime included murder, swindles, racketeering
It took 13 days to reach California from New York there were 387,000 miles of paved road

1950
Facts about this decade
Population: 151,684,000 (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census)* Unemployed: 3,288,000
Life expectancy: Women 71.1, men 65.6
Car Sales: 6,665,800
Average Salary: $2,992
Labor Force male/female: 5/2
Cost of a loaf of bread: $0.14
Bomb shelter plans, like the government pamphlet You Can Survive,...
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