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What Is The American Dream? Essay

845 words - 3 pages

What is the American Dream?Ever since America has been explored and colonized, the conception of an ideolgicaldream has been at the forefront. America has continually provided an arena for those individualsseeking economic, governmental, religious expansion and purification. Even though centurieshave passed, the fundemental priniciples that define the American dream have remained essentiallythe same. Through history and American literature, one can derive a genuine understanding ofwhat actually is the American dream.The concept of the American dream, obviously starts as European in nature. The Italianexplorer, Christopher Columbus and his voyage were the proverbial spark that bolstered theconcept of the American dream. Columbus set sail for a passage to the east by sailing west andended up in "the New World". His intention, to profit economically through spices,gold andtrade. Wealth is a constant motivating factor for future excursions to America, thus a majorproponent of achieving the American dream. We see this theme recurring a few decades laterwith Sir Walter Raleigh and the royal charters with joint-stock ventures of England.Many of these bravado explorers and journeymen lended mythical aspects to the AmericanDream. The dream of a plentiful, perfect society and viewing America as a paradise is clearlyevident in the writings of John Smith. Smith realized in order for these initial settlements toflourish, more men were needed to populate, work and regenerate. In A Description of NewEngland and The General History of Virginia, Smith used imagination, persuasion and intenseglorification to lure men from England to incite expansion. Smith claims any man willing to workcan make a living as a fisherman. He also goes to great lengths to exhibit the abundance of landand nature which illustrates the prospect of fertility within the new land. John Smith also boldlyestablishes his hiearchy of the natives, by reffering to them as savages and by cleverly describingthe easiness of putting them to do the hard labor for the benefit of the English settlements. Smith,devoid of any modesty, was adept at creating a dream of adventure through dramatizing theaccounts of his own meanderings. His writings were the inspiration of many men who soughtwonderment and fullfillment of easy econmomic opportunity in which New England provided.When the Puritans set sail for America to escape the corruption of the Church of England,their dream was to have the ability to express themselves through religious freedom. Also theirdream was to create an overly select society with the main cause being saving grace with God.John Winthrop continually points out that the migration of America is based on an agreement withGod. He states that, "we are entered into a Covenant with Him...

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