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Defining The American Dream Essay

2976 words - 12 pages

Our entire nation was founded on a dream. Even though the actual idea of the American Dream was not coined until the 1930s, it’s always been there, it means something different to everybody, and it’s been ever-changing throughout the course of this nation’s history. There are three fairly common American ideals that define the American Dream. The first is financial stability, and with that, comes a nice home, family, and a fairly relaxed lifestyle. The next, is the idea that everyone is created equal and will have the freedom to live the life they want how they want to in a country that welcomes them with open arms. The final, and most unique to our nation, is the idea that you can come here with nothing and make something of yourself. You can work hard and end up reaping the benefits from which you have sown. Each of these ideals has remained constant in some way or another, but people cling to certain aspects of the American Dream in certain situations. For example, during the Great Depression people clung to the American Dream even more because it was all they had left; it was their hope for the future. As long as we cling to our dreams we are keeping the Dream alive because if we let go, then we have nothing left to hold on to in face of hardship and adversity. The American Dream is a symbol of everything right in this country which is why it stays alive through history, current events, and the hearts of American Citizens.
The American Dream throughout History
The American Dream has been present and ever-changing since the discovery of America. You can look in any old U.S. history textbook and see all the basic ideals America was founded on. America was a place where people could start anew and escape things like poverty, religious prosecution, and an oppressive government. The idea of freedom seemed like a dream come true which is exactly what this nation was to many people. It was a place where people could go to be free and govern their own lives. Of course, there were laws to keep people from obscuring others’ unalienable rights. That was the dream at the time. It was a dream of coming to a new place, starting over, and making your life something to be proud of. Of course there were flaws in the dream, no nation’s perfect. Slavery and racism was a big problem and it interfered with African Americans’ and other minorities’ basic rights. That was a crucial flaw that made the United States very hypocritical. Only certain people were allowed unalienable rights, how does that make sense? It was unfair, and it took a lot of fighting and hard work to earn those rights, but the minorities pulled through and proved that those rights were the real deal and granted equality no matter what race or gender. Every day that people in America get to exercise their freedoms, they are living the American Dream of freedom.
In the 1920s the American Dream was in a shaky place. This was a time of big money, and big crime. The stock market at the time was...

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