What is the American Dream, and who are the people most likely to pursue its often elusive fulfillment? The American Dream has come to represent the attainment of myriad of goals that are specific to each individual. While one person might consider a purchased home with a white picket fence their version of the American Dream; another might regard it as the financial ability to operate their own business. There is no cut and dried definition of the American Dream as long as any two people hold a different meaning. What it does universally represent, however, it the opportunity for people to seek out their individual and collective desires under a political umbrella of democracy. The American Dream was and always will be something that makes America great. It allows those with aspirations to make them come true. In America all you need is a dream and the motivation to carry out that dream. Ambition is the driving force behind the American Dream. It allows any one that has a desire to carry out the individual dream. It knows no bounds of race, creed, gender or religion. It stands for something great, something that everyone can strive towards. A dream can be a desire for something great. In America, the American Dream allows dreams to become realities. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, the American Dream is defined as "An American social ideal that' stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity" (Webster’s Dictionary). To live this dream is to succeed; it allows anyone, rich or poor to have the opportunity to succeed. It is the ability to come from nothing and become something. To succeed at any thing you do, you must have patience and persistence. It requires hard work, persistence and a desire for something better. The Presidency of the United States of America is an office that exemplifies the American Dream. In the past 25 years, we have had two farmers and an actor become President. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, and President Bill Clinton was also a farmer. Ronald Reagan was a "B" movie actor. They all shared the same dream, to become President of the United States. What they accomplished was part of the American Dream. They all had a yearning and a desire to make their dream work. Their job was to make the American Dream possible for others. They are all living proof that the American Dream is possible for anyone. Every day many people enjoy the benefits for carrying out their dream; for not giving up when things seemed to be at its worst. Every day someone else has a dream, and every day they may act on it. Our fore fathers fought so generations beneath them would be able to make their dreams realities. They fought for their American Dream - freedom. They fought for the American Dream, equality. They wanted to allow us to be able to achieve our own American Dream - "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (Jefferson, 239). To have the desire and the drive to carry out ones aspirations embodies the American Dream Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan all had dreams and the dedication needed to fulfill them. Without the American Dream none of these endeavors would have been successful. The American Dream encompasses everything that helps to create happiness in this nation. It sets our great nation a part from the many other nations in our world. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, all you need is a dream. Humble families have almost everything that the portrayed Hollywood families have, but it is not enough because our society today is stricken with greed. We all want more, more, and more. We aren't satisfied with our health, money and family. To live the American dream, you have to believe that you can make it and allow hard work ethic and morality to take its role in our life. We don't understand that other towns around the United States are far less superior to us, and we don't understand how lucky we are to be living this dream. The Bible states: "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do they light a lamp and hide it under a bush, but on a stand so that everyone can see it. Similarly, let your light shine among the people, so that they observe your good works and give glory to your heavenly Father" (Matt.5:14-17). Among us, there are many people who have been living the American Dream; whether it had been soccer stars, actors, or even our own friends. Many people who are living this dream don't even realize it because they want even more than they already have. We see them as greedy. Even I feel that I am living this dream, “Humble is at own full of spoiled children who have been living the dream since they were born, and only know, at this age, they a restarting to realize it"(Delahoussaye). American Beauty is a movie that represents almost the opposite of the American Dream at the first glimpse. At this point it seems almost ironic that this film was produced by Dream Works, a company name that, intentional or not, came from the ever-present American Dream. One of the movie’s themes is how we have preconceived notions about things, but the truth often turns out to be something we never even considered. Which would be true beauty might be in the place you least expect it. America was built on dreams. Our ancestors chose to take the risk by putting their lives on the line and fighting for freedom. We declared our independence in 1776 when Benjamin Franklin stated clearly: "We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately" (Franklin, 146). We declared these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. We declared the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Humble Abe Lincoln stood tall and led us through the Civil War with the belief "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" (Capozzoli, 11). A poor Scottish lad named Andrew Carnegie immigrated to America as a teen and built up the world’s largest steel mill and became the richest man in the land. Through his philanthropy he gave it all away and helped build our great libraries while reminding us: "No man becomes rich, unless he enriches others."(Capozzoli, 7) It’s OK to fail. After over 10,000 attempts, Thomas Edison finally invented the electric light bulb. Henry Ford put America on the road with the Model T. Our family members fought valiantly for the Red, White and Blue in both World Wars while the tomb of the Unknown Soldier continues to burn bright in our minds. A courageous man with polio who could no longer walk at ease brought the world’s aggressors to their knees as we triumphed in victory at the close of World War II. For this, we thank Franklin Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt ended up becoming the champion for social justice and encouraged us to do the right thing: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do" (Roosevelt, 157). Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale taught us about riches, influence and positive thinking. Walt Disney dared to wish upon a star, and created Disneyland against the odds. Who could ever imagine a childhood without the magic kingdom? Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy brought images of Camelot into our living rooms creating excitement throughout our nation as we recalled the words of our president: "What together we can do for the freedom of man" (Kennedy, 333). Martin Luther King, JR’s passionate speech "I have a dream," opened our eyes (King, 347). While bullets took the lives of two of our greatest leaders, nothing stopped the seeds they planted for their dream for an even better America. 58,202 names of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall with the sober reminder that the price of freedom is never free. Our American heroes are gone but not forgotten. As we enter the new millennium we must all hang onto our own individual hope, faith and belief that, yes, today "the American Dream is alive and well to all those who choose to chase after it." (Backford, 2). The American dream can be any dream that a person has or wants and is able to perceiver to achieve it. There are thousands examples that I can use but there is no need to because the American dream can be you or me just being able to achieve a daily goal. An example would be being able to attend college or you being able to teach us students and help us learn things that we didn’t know. The American Dream isn’t dead all you need is a simple dream and the will to achieve it.
"American Beauty." 13 January 1999>http://www.spacey.com/Ambeauty.html>Backford, James. "American Dreams." Ball, Alan. "American Beauty - by Alan Ball." 22 September1999. Geocities.com/rankostome5/Americnbeauty.html>.28 March 2001. Delahoussaye, Ringgold. Personal Interview. 25 March 2001.
"Franklin, Benjamin". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Seven. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978.145-147. The Layman's Terms Bible
Capozzoli, Mary Jane. American History 1887 to the Present. New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc. 1993. "Jefferson, Thomas". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Ten. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 239. "Kennedy, John F". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Ten. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 333- 334. "King, JR., Martin Luther". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Ten. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 347.