The History of the American Dream Essays

The History of the American Dream Essays

Length: 1836 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Our American Dream, Our History, Our Lives Essays

- My great-grandfather moved to this country from Thailand. His lineage situation is a bit confusing considering he is of mixed blood. In those days racism was on a uphill slope, especially in such countries as Taiwan and China, and Japan, that would have been considered blasphemous and it still is today. Today we live in a more enlightened time, being of Taiwanese and Jamaican blood he and his parents were abandoned by his family and outcast among their neighbors. He frequently had to cover his face in cloths and garments just to walk outside....   [tags: Essays on the American Dream]

Free Essays
1003 words (2.9 pages)

The Fallacy of the American Dream in Fitzgerald’s "The Great Gatsby" Essay

- The Roaring Twenties, The Jazz Age; these were just some of the names for the 1920s. However, all those fancy names do not actually describe the essential motivations of the people in the 1920s. In actuality, the 1920s were an age of conformity, false aspirations due to the American dream, and the obsession with social class statuses. What is the American dream. The simplest version of the American dream is a nice house and family, with the white picket fence in the front yard. For many families this dream came true, but for others, it was not quite possible to achieve....   [tags: American Dream, 1920's, USA, history, Fitzgerald, ]

Strong Essays
769 words (2.2 pages)

Analysis of Calder's Book, Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit

- A: Qualifications and Interests of the Author As a native of Texas, Lendol Calder graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980 and went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1993. Calder is currently a Professor of History and African-American Studies at Augustana College and is presently working on an analysis of the thrift ethos in American history and culture with a team of scholars organized by the Templeton Foundation and the Institute for the Advanced Study of American Culture at the University of Virginia....   [tags: Study of American Culture]

Strong Essays
1648 words (4.7 pages)

How Should America Handle Illegal Immigration? Essay

- 200 years ago the very first immigrants arrived on American soil. The United States established itself upon the concept of immigrants but a great debate of how immigration policies will take effect goes on still today. The controversy: how should the United States and Mexico handle legal and illegal immigration. More and more immigrants arrive illegally in search for a better life. In just the last fifteen years, a tremendous increase of illegal immigrants came to the United States. They believe 700,000 per year” (Nadadur 1040)....   [tags: American History, The American Dream]

Strong Essays
2976 words (8.5 pages)

Benjamin Franklin Essay examples

- If ever a story embodied what has come to be known as the American Dream, it is the life story of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin could be considered a passionate and energetic man who motivated himself by self-determination and a strong work ethic to achieve self-improvement. Beyond his sometimes-lofty personal aspirations to attain self-improvement, Franklin’s deep conviction inspired him to help others live well. He demonstrated this conviction in his reasons for writing, his willingness to portray his mistakes as well as his successes as a means of instruction, his recounting of the assistance he gave to others, and his desire to create useful solutions....   [tags: American History, The American Dream]

Strong Essays
1227 words (3.5 pages)

The Manifest Destiny Essay

- Industrialization of the United States was in full swing by the 1840s. Which evidenced that the continued expansion of the states was an issue and the idea of a Manifest Destiny was of major importance. John L. O’Sullivan once stated, “Our Manifest Destiny is to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions” (America: A Narrative History). The idea of a Manifest Destiny originated in the 1840s by the Anglo-Saxon Colonists to expand their ideal civilization and institutions across North America to become a super nation....   [tags: US history, racism, American dream]

Strong Essays
1091 words (3.1 pages)

The Revolutionary War: The Roots of the American Dream Essay

- War is known to have a substantial effect on the lives of every person in that country. In the United States the American dream, in any interpretation, is either improved or lessened depending on if what we are fighting for is worth the sacrifice. For example, the Afghanistan War is commonly known to be hindering the American dream; there is no proof of direct improvement or intentions to improve the way Americans live. Inversely, in the Revolutionary War we were fighting for the freedom of our country from England....   [tags: U.S. History]

Strong Essays
1190 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on The Tale of the American Dream in Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

- ... However Americans were too blinded by the heat of battle and Manifest Destiny to pay any mind to such trivial details. Two years and thirteen thousand American deaths later, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed and ratified by Congress. Despite its unethical beginning, the spoils reaped by the Americans from the Mexican War were tremendous. The terms of the treaty had granted the United States the entire Mexican Cession territory, which consisted of modern day Nevada, California, New Mexico, Utah, Most of Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Wyoming....   [tags: injustice, greed, american history]

Strong Essays
1522 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about The American Dream

- "The American Dream" is that dream of a nation in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with options for each according to capacity or accomplishments. It is a dream of social stability in which each man and each woman shall be able to achieve to the fullest distinction of which they are essentially competent, and be distinguish by others for what they are, despite of the incidental conditions of birth or stance. The American Dream is often something that humanity wonders about....   [tags: Essays on the American Dream]

Free Essays
673 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on The American Dream

- missing works cited It is the intent of this paper to prove that the "American Dream" can best be explained as a "ciity upon a hill." "Ciity upon a hill" meaning being above and superior over those below. The Civil War, the imperialistic race of the 19th century, the Korean War, the KKK, and the Gulf War are all examples of the "American Dream" of superiority playing a part in American History. Each American has a different idea of this superiority, but nonetheless strive to achieve it, whatever it may be in....   [tags: Essays on the American Dream]

Strong Essays
1824 words (5.2 pages)