How Has the American Dream Changed Over Time

Categories: American Dream

Over several decades, the American dream has evolved and adapted drastically due to the harsh conditions and fake reality of everyday life. Our Founding Fathers established the concept that each person's pursuit of happiness inspired their ambition to work towards their aspirations. With this in mind, they developed a type of government that protected those rights for every citizen. To this day, millions of foreigners travel to America for the opportunity to experience this unconventional way of life with the intention of achieving happiness through hard work and equal freedoms.

In other words, the American Dream was derived from the protection of these rights. Throughout the centuries, the American Dream has magnified and developed from equality and freedom to form something much greater than just the notion of a white picket fence.

In spite of, what we see the American Dream as today it did not just become something revolutionary overnight, it has a background and history that many know nothing about.

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Kimberly Amadeo, according to the balance post’s “Our Founding Fathers introduced the revolutionary idea that each person's desire to pursue their idea of happiness was not self-indulgence, but a necessary driver of a prosperous society. They created a government to defend that right for everyone.” Our Founding Fathers helped the people achieve a prosperous future when they had the Declaration of Independence written up. A big part of the American Dream would be freedom and the Declaration of Independence clearly states all men are created equal. According to Kimberly Amadeo, in The Balance Post’s “Of course, at that time 'everyone' only meant white property-owners.

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Over time, Congress extended the right to slaves, women, and people without property. President Abraham Lincoln extended the American Dream to slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. President Woodrow Wilson extended it to women by supporting the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.” In this post, the author is stating that even though we have the Declaration of Independence it was only for white property-owning men. The United States presidents extended this right to women and slaves to give them the freedom they well deserved. Our government did this by creating the Emancipation Declaration which gave women as well as slaves more freedom then they had before.

Over time the American Dream changed and morphed into something far greater than the American people would have wished for. Adam Barone, states in the Investopedia post “Achieving the American Dream requires political and economic freedom, as well as rules of law and private property rights. Without them, individuals cannot make the choices that will permit them to attain success, nor can they have confidence that their achievements will not be taken away from them through arbitrary force.” Today two of the main ways to achieve the American Dream would be political and economic freedom. Meaning that politically p[eople are capable of choosing how they feel about something freely and economically they have the chance to move forward in the economy not solely based on their race or gender. Kimberly Amado states in the balance post, “President Barack Obama established the right to the pursuit of happiness through marriage regardless of sexual orientation. The Supreme Court supported that right in 2015.” In 2015 the president of the United States made it possible for people no matter their gender were freely allowed to pick who they would like to be their significant other. This at one point in time and some people still think this today was looked down upon until we the people decided otherwise. The overall definition of happiness for the people has changed from protecting opportunities to acquiring material things.

The American Dream is made up of factors meaning there are little specific that really form the entire idea together. Adam Barone states in the Investopedia post, “For starters, it is relatively isolated geographically, compared to many other countries, and enjoys a temperate climate. It has a culturally diverse population that businesses use to foster innovation in a global landscape. Abundant natural resources—including oil, arable land, and long coastlines—generate food and income for the country and its residents.” In this document, the author is saying that the United States itself has its own relative space making it easy for people to form a new life within it. Additionally, there are a vast amount of different people from all over the world and an abundant amount of resources. Robert J. Shriller in the New York Times says, “But the last decade has shown that with a little encouragement, many can easily become excessively lustful about homeownership and wealth, to the detriment of our economy and society.” The author in this New York Times post is saying that within this last decade anyone can become wealthy or successful with homeownership. Owning certain property seems to play a vast role in the American Dream. If one were to own their own property and business they would be considered well off and decently successful. The American Dream is made up of these factors and played out by every single person throughout every day.

The American dream has factors that contribute to making it up; these factors over time have changed over the decades. It didn’t change poorly it just grew with the people throughout the years. Nothing is ever bound to just remain the same. The American dream overtime has expanded and thrived to now form something much greater than just the picket fence picture, due to solely equality and freedom. People do and should now look for successful futures for themselves because today everyone is capable and free to do so themselves.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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How Has the American Dream Changed Over Time. (2024, Feb 05). Retrieved from

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