The Increase in Crimes to Achieve the American Dream

672 Words2 Pages

Blood-stained shoes, a meager sum of cash, and a guilty conscience: this is what Richard Hickock and Perry Smith left with from the Clutter Household on the night of November 15, 1959. Four innocent people, who could have changed the world one day, received fatal gun shot wounds and for what: a mere sum of forty dollars? Hickock and Perry committed this senseless crime as they felt it necessary to live up to the America ideals of power and money, no matter the cost. The American Dream, once thought to be the dream of a freer, better, richer, and happier life for all citizens of every rank, has now turned into a desire for quick success and financial security, regardless of the means by which people achieve it. Due to the media and changing environment of society, people are often led to commit heinous acts of criminality, such as theft or murder, in their quest to fulfill the tainted “American Dream.”
The Founding Fathers once preached that the American Dream entailed the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” nothing more, nothing less (Declaration of Independence). For centuries, the American Dream meant having a good job, owning a house, having a nice family, and generally enjoying life the best way possible. As history progressed however, people started working toward achieving individualistic success by any means necessary. Go back to the 1930s in New York City one fine spring morning. A boy, Moss Hart, remembers that back then “wealth, rank, or an imposing name counted for nothing. The dream of the wonderful American consisted of having a decent chance to scale the walls and achieve what they wished” (Kamp 1). Now flash-forward a century into the year 2014. Today in America, success does not reflect how muc...

... middle of paper ... the American culture places economic success at the pinnacle of social desirability, without listing legitimate ways for attaining the desired goal (Merton 672-682). Today, the American Dream no longer reflects the dream Adams had, but instead, the idea that one can only call themselves truly successful if they have become rich, regardless of the way they got there. The American Dream does not guarantee happiness, but rather the pursuit of it, but with the media strongly persuading people that money guarantees happiness, people are encouraged to do whatever it takes, even it means disregarding their morals, so that they achieve ‘success.’ The inability to achieve this goal often leads people to destructive, and ultimately life-threatening criminal behavior as their feelings of anxiety and frustration over this vision of the “American Dream” get the best of them.

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