TR 9:30-10:50 COMP2
Professor A. Westbrook
The Reality of the American Dream
The American Dream is a national philosophy of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931 he stated “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. This definition of the American Dream is a naïve statement because equal opportunity, equality, and anti- greed are dreamlike in today’s society. The American dream is not realistic due to lack of opportunity, greed, and inequality. The meaning of the "American Dream" has changed over the course of history, and includes both personal components (such as home ownership and upward mobility) and a global vision. Historically the Dream originated in the mystique regarding frontier life. As the Royal Governor of Virginia noted in 1774, the Americans "for ever imagine the Lands further off are still better than those upon which they are already settled". He added that, "if they attained Paradise, they would move on if they heard of a better place farther west", Stated by Nancy Sathre-Vogel in her In pursuit of the American Dream article. The beliefs today imply that Americans can achieve success through hard work. According to The American Dream, this includes the opportunity for one's children to grow up and receive a good education and career without artificial barriers. It is the opportunity to make individual choices without the prior restrictions that limited people according to their class, caste, religion, race, or ethnicity. Immigrants to the United States sponsored ethnic newspapers in their own language; the editors typically promoted the American Dream. Equal opportunity is...
Cited: Emily S. Rosenberg, Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion 1890–1945 (1982) pp 22–23
Nevin, Allan. James Truslow Adams, Historian of the American Dream. . Chicago : University of Illinois, 1931. 315. Print.
Roemer, John, 1998, Equality of Opportunity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Library of Congress. American Memory. "What is the American Dream?", lesson plan
Zuckerman , Mortimer , ed. "Solving America’s Inequality Puzzle." www.usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report , 28 march 2014. Web. 9 Apr 2014. .
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