The Idea of the “American Dream”

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The American Dream Final Exam
By: Uday Govindswamy
Period 2

The idea of the “American Dream” was first used in the book The Epic of America, written by James Truslow Adams, in 1931. Adams stated that the American Dream is, “the dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement…(31) “. The key elements of the American Dream include: access to a college education, owning a home, enjoying political freedom and being economically independent (Clinton American Dream Initiative 3). Every newly arrived immigrant believes that with hard work he or she will achieve all or most of the elements of the American Dream. The fundamental thesis of the American Dream is that it is available for all who work hard regardless of race, color or gender. However, the facts show that the American Dream is more myth than reality. Minorities have sought this dream and in return have suffered economic inequality, limited access to higher education, inability to own a home and political discrimination. The economic discrimination against minorities, the middle class and poor, can be seen through the income growth gap. According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of income growth in 2001 to 2007 has gone to the top 1 % of America (The American Dream Initiative 16). This reflects that the rich are getting richer and the middle class and poor are getting poorer. Over the past thirty years, the numbers of middle class urban and suburban neighborhoods have shrunk by a third (Clinton The American Dream Initiative 16). Illustrating that the gap between the minorities and richer people are growing. In conclusion, this proves that many among the poor and the middle class have not been able to achieve the American Dream in their lifetime. One group, among others, that contributed to building up America has been the African-Americans. The majority of this group, who have been in the US for long, have not been...
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