The American Dream
The American Dream
The concept of the American Dream has been ingrained in our thoughts ever since America became was established. You may have heard it anywhere such as politician’s speeches, popular songs, and hundreds of books. “What is the American Dream? ” some might say. The American Dream has a number of meanings, but the most popular definition is that every American has the chance for prosperity, and with wealth and material items bring happiness. The American Dream to this day is still around but has greatly evolved to the changing times. The desire to achieve great wealth can be seen in the origin, evolution, and variations of the American Dream.
The American Dream also has an opposing side, as Fitzgerald exposes in his book, The Great Gatsby. Many men have been credited with popularizing the idea of the American Dream. In 1630 a man by the name of John Winthrop gave a speech to his Puritan colonists as they sailed to Massachusetts. His vision was of a society, that, as long as they worked together and followed the Bible, everyone would have a chance for good fortune. Although John Winthrop was recorded to be one of the first men to popularize the American Dream, many men were to follow. In the year of 1776 the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson’s belief was that everyone in America was entitled to “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. ” Another man, James Truslow Adams, wrote a book “The Epic of America” in 1931. His idea of the American Dream, stated in his book, is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. ” The evolution of the American Dream has changed as the country has. There has been times when it has completely disappeared from view as the country has been in turmoil. The Great Depression is one example.
During this time, millionaires lost their wealth and the majority of the society lost their houses and jobs. Few people believed the words of Herbert Hoover, that “prosperity was just around the corner. ” With the end of World War II the American Dream came out of hiding in full force. The American economy grew as did the belief that the harder they work, the better their life will become. Since then the American Dream has evolved, yet not as drastically as the mid 1900’s. In present day, politicians are constantly promising to make the American Dream flourish as it once did. With the fact that so many Americans are aptivated by the American Dream, it is astonishing that no one has been able to agree on a single definition for it.
Men such as John Winthrop had visions of a religious paradise. Other people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. , had a dream of every citizen having the right to equality and freedom. With the disagreement on one definition for the American Dream, how you achieve it can solely depend on your own views of it. With all the differences in the meaning, one thing is certain, America is the home to great oppurtunity. The American Dream is a quest. It may be a quest for wealth, freedom from persecution, or equality.
Fitzgerald shows the opposition to the American Dream in his story, The Great Gatsby. He shows that with wealth, happiness does not always follow. In the story, Jay Gatsby took the shortcut to wealth to gain his one true love, Daisy. In the end he lost Daisy and his life. What is the American Dream? The American Dream is a quest for happiness, wealth, freedom, or equality. It is still alive today and slowly evolving. Although some may say it is not alive, it is clearly still thriving. It is seen everywhere from books to speeches. How you achieve the American Dream depends solely on how you define it.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 8 January 2017
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