American Dream Paper

Topics: United States, Social class, Achieved status Pages: 5 (1252 words) Published: June 23, 2014
Chloe Tracy
College Composition I
Professor Chezik
4 December 2013

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”- This phrase is well known from the United States’ Declaration of Independence that roots within the American Dream. The American Dream has powered the hopes and aspirations of Americans for generations. It began as a plain but revolutionary notion: each individual has the right to pursue happiness and the freedom to strive for a better life through hard work and dedication. Yet, as time passes and the world revolves, the perception of this dream for Americans has changed. So what exactly is the American Dream? How do we define it? These questions are still active at the dinner table, and amongst friends, and entrepreneurs who wonder and hope for their own life’s successes. Well for me, my definition of the American Dream is for people to live happily within their passions, make enough money to support themselves and family, have or possess complete education, and live peacefully in their own home. The American Dream that I perceive in my eyes is attainable with hard work and our social mobility. With optimism, it can change people’s perceptions of achieving their goals. With that being said, the American Dream is still alive.

The mindset instilled in many Americans’ brains says, “If you work hard, you cannot fail.” In this case, it is true that if you put in the effort you will be successful. There are still people in this world that believe that the American Dream is still intact. In a 2009 New York Times survey that author Brandon King states is that 72 % of Americans still believed it was possible to start poor, work hard, and become rich in America (King 573). And even in today’s world, there are plenty of people that started with nothing but resulted with true greatness, like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, and other thriving Americans. Success stories like these can inspire others that we can achieve what we want if we have the right mindset of a smart hard worker. Yet in Bob Herbert’s essay he claims, “We’ve become a hapless, can’t do society, and it’s frankly embarrassing” (Herbert 566) This claim is disputed by Cal Thomas who believes that “the creation of a government that is out of control, and thus out of touch robs every citizen, preventing fulfillment of the original American dream” therefore believing that “the rules for achieving the American dream may no longer be taught in and supported by culture, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work” (Thomas 570). He enforces that the rules for obtaining the American Dream can indeed happen, and people have triumphed, despite the obstacles they have surpassed. In my opinion, I do believe that anyone who stays in school, works hard, and sets primary goals for themselves can still work their way to the top. Nothing worth doing is easy, and being successful is not spoon-fed. With that being said, hard work and dedication can make dreams become a reality

With the never ending drive to succeed comes social mobility. Social mobility in the United States refers to the movement of Americans from one social class to another by changing jobs or marrying. It goes along with the fact that the uphill work can grant upward mobility, which can offer the opportunity to look for better jobs that acquire higher pay. To add to that, obtaining education and above will move people up the ladder in social status. Social mobility can even be intergenerational, when children attain a higher or lower status than their parents had. For example, my grandfather who grew up poor continued his education and achieved to be involved in the town council. My father, who went to university, graduated and is a vice president-investment officer of Wells Fargo, where he manages investments for people such as stock bonds and mutual funds. With this in mind, we have the capability to move up and down the ladder,...

Cited: Graff, Gerald. “They Say I Say” The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing With Readings. 2nd ed. New York, London: W.W Norton & Company, 2012. 564-578. Print
Herbert, B. (2010). Hiding from Reality The New York Times. Retrieved from
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