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Response to "Horatio Alger" of H. L. Dalton

Harlon L. Dalton in his essay “Horatio Alger” criticizes a concept of the “American dream” – the idea that presents America as the country where the opportunity for a success is possible for all hard working, talented and determined people regardless of race, gender and their social status. Dalton implies that not only this idea is not true but is doing a harm to society because that equality is cover only wishful thinking and can not be true unless massive changes in society economic structure and relocation of resources will be done.

Dalton’s essay presents the point of view with that I can only partially agree. I must say that author is probably right that in this country the opportunities are not equal for all people. Why they should be? This world is not a paradise; we cannot just overcome overnight all either what is bad in us or in our society, it a complicated and I assume time-consuming process. I would like to give an example: I could tell the employer: “you must employ the African-American and not white man” that will be wrong not only because it could be white man who truly deserves this position but because the employer should really be aware that what is good for his company is to employ the more talented employee.

There should be no law to force him whom he could employ.

Therefore, there must be change in people and their thinking; it may take sometimes a generation or two.

Nevertheless, even America is not fully fulfilled dream for all people; it opened the door of success for many and still is opening for others.

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This vast country gave opportunity for first settlers to success. Only strong and smart could survive in the harsh environment but their hard work was well paid, and they learned how to use this land to live well. As many newcomers came, the opportunity diminished making the dream more difficult to fulfill. It does not mean that American Dream died then; it is been well preserved in American constitution and richness of this country that is a good base to create that wonderland of equal opportunities for all people. Day after day this country is changing the more women achieve the most important positions in the enterprises, the more African-American stars appears on the big screen, our children have more friends of different races and we do not mind to go to the doctor whose color of skin is different than ours. That is a big achievement and that is “American dream”.

Dalton says not only that we live in the inequality but also that the concept of American dream is making harm to the society because allows to believe in what is not true and stop the reforms that should be done to prevent these inequalities. In my opinion, “American Dream” is self-realizing idea: the more people will believe in equality the more equality will be. If every man in this country will believe that all people have equal rights that will be no need to introduce “massive changes in the structure of the economy and in the location of public resources” as the author suggests. The problem is people still do not believe in it and therefore act as they should not act protecting those who they should not and rejecting these whom they should protect.

There is another good reason to believe in “American Dream”; this dream is the engine that makes people works harder and more effectively, what helps to create the economical betterment of this country. I truly believe also that if any of social or racial group feels that its rights are abused it will refuse to work hard and in consequences it will fall off from the pursuit of money and goods and this way only worsen its own situation.

In the conclusion, “American dream” is not failed idea as author wanted to present it. Although we do not live with a total equality, this dream is reflecting people desire America to be such a country and it is the factor that is making the America what is today in economical and social dimension.


  1. Dalton H.A. “Horatio Alger”.

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Response to "Horatio Alger" of H. L. Dalton. (2016, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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