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What Is The American Dream? Essay

1182 words - 5 pages

What is the American dream? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the American Dream as, “An American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and material prosperity.” The American Dream has always encompassed that general idea, but different aspects of it have evolved during specific time periods.
The idea of the American dream was first introduced in the late 1800s with the sudden influx of immigrants. For millions of immigrants, America was intended as a harbor to escape from political, religious, and economic troubles. For foreigners, the American dream was to live better than before, that through hard work and perseverance, one can achieve greatness. However the start of the ...view middle of the document...

Through perseverance, Carnegie revolutionized the steel industry and became one of the wealthiest businessman in America. (Geisst)
The American dream changed again with the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The Stock Market Crash caused Americans to enter a state of depression and the American dream appeared to be unreachable. The United States witnessed the greatest economic downfall ever and the American dream seemed nonexistent. Thousands were unemployed, but with the advent of World War II, Americans slowly began to reclaim jobs and many believed the American dream could still be achieved. Jobs spiked as agricultural and military goods were in high demand. (Campbell) After World War II, the American Dream transformed as media and advertising created an ideal family image that most people were pressured to follow. (August) Of course, the fundamental concepts of the American dream was still present, but now most of the American population wanted to live a, “White picket fence” lifestyle. Lorie A. Johnson, author of Is the American Dream a Myth? writes, “Most people assume the American dream is about achieving the nostalgic ideal of 1950s family life- Dad in charge of the household, Mom always looking pretty, and their children happily obedient and affectionate. The belief that success means living in a suburban home with a nuclear family causes many Americans to disparage any lifestyle that departs from this false image of family life.” (Johnson) The traditional middle class American lifestyle consisted of a dominant paternal figure, a homemaker mother, two obedient children, and a beautiful house surrounded by white picket fences. The picturesque image became the representation of a stereotypical middle class family and many Americans saw this as the social norm. Because American society called for the typical middle-class household, Americans believed this was the American dream.
Since the 1950s, The American dream has endured a substantial amount of change. In today’s society, most believe that the American dream is primarily about achieving economic wealth, but it can also be interpreted as thriving in a personal passion. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is a perfect example of someone who achieved a passion. Facebook, one of the most well-known social media websites, was created by one man with a vision. Zuckerberg started out by creating Facebook in a dorm at Harvard University. He faced various conflicts, but in the end, he brought his idea to life. His product helped him become one of the youngest billionaires of all time. Zuckerberg shows that through determination and diligence, the American dream is attainable. To add, the American dream has always...

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