The History of the American Dream

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The American Dream The American Dream summarizes a belief in opportunity for success in America and much of it was reached in the 1950s. It was the belief that everybody was equal, and everybody had an equal opportunity to have a career, raise a family, and live successful and comfortable lives. It was a dream of equality and free enterprise above all else. The American Dream originated in 1931, during the early days of American settlement, with mostly poor immigrants searching for opportunities. It was manifested in the Declaration of Independence, which describes an attitude for hope. The Declaration of Independence states that “all man are created equal and that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”. Colonial America saw the dream realized in the interaction among classes. People of the time wrote about the new experience of equality. Employees could speak openly to their employers and believed that with dedication they could improve their status. During westward expansion, the American Dream led many to race for land and live rugged lives on the frontier. By nature of their hard work, they could set down roots on a piece of the expansive land open to homesteaders and pioneers. However, as time went on, The American Dream transformed into an ideal that relied on people being able to afford all the modern accessories: cars, television sets, and college educations for one's children. Television greatly helped define the American Dream as the acquisition of material goods. Americans dreamed of living ideal lives like those portrayed in shows like Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best. Many Americans fueled their purchase of the new American Dream with credit ... ... middle of paper ... ... Salesman." CLA Journal 37.1 (Sept. 1993): 29- 41. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 179. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 05 May 2014. Lawrence, Stephen. “The Right Dream in Miller’s Death of a Salesman.” College English (1964): 547-549. National Council of Teachers of English. Vol. 25. JSTOR. Web. 5 May. 2014 Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman." The Compact Bedford Introduction to Drama. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009. 704-41. Print. Murphy, Brenda. "Willy Loman: Icon of Business Culture." Michigan Quarterly Review 37.4 (Fall 1998): 755-766. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 179. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 05 May2014. "US Post World War II Boom." YouTube. YouTube, 27 Dec. 2012. Web. 05 May 2014.