Case Study: American Dream Is a Concept

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¶ … American Dream is a concept that most contemporary people have aspired to at some point in their lives, expressing their desire to take advantage of a community promoting freedom and equality for all, regardless of their backgrounds. However, people sometimes have the tendency to ignore certain matters standing before them because of the fact that they are dazzled by promises giving them false hope. The three essays, "The Squatter and the Don," "Chinese Immigration" and "The Tortilla Curtain" are all related by the fact that they undergo the task of provinging how, in spite of the fact that it has always displayed an image supporting values such as liberty, the American government has often let down immigrants coming to the U.S. with great expectations for the country and its system.

The essay regarding Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton's book the Squatter and the Don emphasizes certain aspects of life in California at the time when American citizens had been struggling to get their hands on unsettled land from the American West. While William Darrel is trying to build a picture of himself as being nothing more than an honest settler wanting to improve his family's financial situation, he eventually demonstrates that he is a squatter, and moreover, one that has gone as far as bringing the people whose territory he had robbed of to a state of economic failure.

As seen in all three books, a certain part of the American public tends to treat immigrants as if they are inferior in some way. Of course, this does not apply to all Americans and the social discrepancy between American citizens and immigrants (both legal and undocumented) has ameliorated considerably in the recent decades. However matters have been different in the past. The American community has a history in discriminating non-whites and it proved it with several occasions. Don Mariano, Candido and the Chinese immigrants coming to the U.S. looking forward to a better existence, and are all examples of non-whites toward who have been treated with less consideration by the American authorities as well as the communities they tried to integrate in.

States such as New Jersey and New York have always been a powerful attraction point for immigrants from all around the world. The U.S. has mainly propped up its apparently immigrant-friendly image through these states and through Ellis Island. The island has been the location where immigrants were stopped for a complete screening of their background and their mental and physical state before they were given the right of entering the country. It had apparently been perfectly natural for immigrants to want to come into the U.S. In order to have their chance at the American Dream. However, the fact that most immigrants coming through the east of the country had been white might have been an influencing factor in determining their permission to enter the territory.

It is not right for a certain country's citizens to act disapproving on the subject of immigrants flowing into their country in civilized times. Nevertheless, this can be partially justified by the instinct that humans have to protect their own territories. Whereas this can be explained in the cases of the government wanting to lessen the number of Chinese immigrants entering the U.S. In the 1906-1940 period and Delaney's actual attitude in relation to immigrants, it is totally unpardonable in the case of Don Mariano. Don Mariano was no immigrant and the lands he had been occupying had been his. However, this did not stop squatters from extending their sphere of influence over his territory, pushing the Don's family to the point where they had nothing left from their previous possessions.

Ruiz Maria de Burton's novel has a historical value because of the author's connection to most elements present in the book. The American government did not consider the squatters a threat for the well-being of the U.S. And thus decided not to intervene in favor of any of the belligerent camps. This is proof that the government prefers its citizens in favor of non-citizens when considering one's right over a land, regardless of the fact that the respective land had been owned by the person that had not been considered a U.S. citizen in the first place.

Theories akin to the Manifest Destiny have given white people in Northern America the feeling that they are superior and that it is normal for them to expand their sphere of influence across the territory. The Squatters had been aware that their government would not protect the families that had a history in inhabiting California and they have acted accordingly. It is obvious that the novel is not necessarily meant to condemn the actions performed by the American government, but to recount some of the thoughts present in the times when American territory had been rapidly expanding towards the west.

As matters became clear and the American government lobbied for its citizens to receive a privileged treatment, former land owners realized that it had been futile for them to try and keep their territory. It had been a fight that they had lost from the very start, when the authorities encouraged Americans to go and take up land in the West.

The so-called land of dreams proved to be so only for those fortunate enough to have gotten their hands on it. The waves of immigrants entering the country made Americans realize that there had also been other people aspiring at their dreams, thus they started to express a less tolerant approach when it came to immigration. The Chinese economy had been disastrous at the beginning of the twentieth century and people there were willing to try anything in order to improve their living standards. Consequent to loss of most immigration documents during the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, a large number of Chinese took advantage of the chaos that followed and attempted to enter the country claiming that they already were American citizens.

Overwhelmed with the number of immigrants coming in through California, the American authorities decided that they had to find ways to lessen the number of people entering the country. Following the example of Ellis Island in the east proving its efficiency as an immigrant depot and selection center, the Angel Island in the West was believed to be the perfect place where the government would apply rigorous methods of selection before letting only the most suitable in.

Unlike Ellis Island, the Angel Island became a place where immigrants had to go through intense interrogation sessions believed by the authorities to be an efficient method of discouraging individuals from trying to enter the country fraudulently. Blinded by their struggle to keep undocumented immigrants away from the country, Americans did not realize that what they were doing was equivalent to discrimination. The country promoting freedom and equality for all had noticeably failed at doing just that. Chinese people had not been considered to be equal to other immigrants, as they received a harsh treatment, similar to the ones criminals received.

The matter involving Chinese immigrants being subjected to interrogatories did not remain secret and most American citizens had become aware of what was happening on Angel Island. However, few Americans had actually been interested in the fates of the Chinese immigrants. The economic situation was contributing to their lack of enthusiasm when it came to more competition in the job market. Thus, the majority favored the way that the government acted, and just like the squatters, people were easily persuaded to believe that non-citizens would threaten their social position. Thus, it can be said that the government succeeded in oppressing those that had not been U.S. citizens, with the support from the masses.

The government did not care what the effects of the interrogations were as long as they… [END OF PREVIEW]

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-dream-concept-most/81.