American Dream Term Paper

Pages: 9 (4038 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … American Dream

The concept of an American dream has been one of the most forceful concepts of the 19th and 20th centuries. Included within the dream are the revelations of political liberation, ownership of home, the amassing of wealth, and the independence from poverty. This integration of political and economic principles was the enticement which attracted countless of immigrants during the nineteenth century. Weighed by economic ambition, the American Dream has the political principles to its realization also. The American experimentation has progressed with the passage of time as a process by which economic principles are safeguarded and nurtured by a type of Government which shares as well as identifies the economic dream as vital to stability and growth. (Geisst, 9)

During the 21st century, it has been a long time the "American Dream" has gravitated transcending comparatively from the musty realm of print culture into the radiant blaze of the mass media in which it is entwined as our national motto. Triumphant athletes hold forth it after the championship games. Wannabe politicians summon the same as the foundation of their contention. Temperate businessmen refer to it as the final objective of their endeavor. The expression appears akin to the most supercilious as also as the most urgent constituent of an American individuality, a birthright very significant and convincing compared to concepts like "democracy," "Constitution," or that of "the United States." (Cullen, 5)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on American Dream the Concept of an American Assignment

The pervasiveness of "the American Dream" emanates from the extensive, though not universal understanding that the concept explains something extremely modern. Concurrently, nevertheless, substantial part of its vivacity stands on a foundation, which I share, which is a constituent of a long history. (Cullen, 5) Jeffrey Louis Decker states about the origin of the concept the "American Dream." He affirms that "the expression was not used in books until 1931, when the middle-brow historian James Truslow Adams founded and applied it across the pages of a book captioned "The Epic of America'." (Appendix S: The American Dream) Adams had complete knowledge that the "American Dream" constituted a novel expression and had reasoned that his editor, Elerry Sedgwick, permit him to make use of it in the book's title. Sedgwick declined stating that "no red-blooded American would dish out $3.50 in exchange for a dream." (Appendix S: The American Dream) Adams fought that "Red-blooded Americans have all the while been eager to stake their last Peso on a dream..." (Appendix S: The American Dream) Evidently, the idea of a dream like that as a deep conviction, even as a torchbearer, predates Adams' initial application of the expression during the 1930s. (Appendix S: The American Dream)

Adams states that the American Dream is "that dream of a land wherein life would be healthier and wealthier and fulfilling for everybody, with the scope for each as per the capability or accomplishment. It is a hard dream for the European upper class to understand it sufficiently, and a large number among us ourselves have grown exhausted and skeptical about it. It is just not a vision of owning swanky automobiles and getting highly paid in jobs, but rather a vision of social order wherein everyone regardless of gender shall be capable of attaining the zenith in the realm in which they are instinctively competent, and be accepted by others for what they stand for, irrespective of the accidental conditions of nativity or status." (What is the American Dream?)

Adams who was a frontrunner optimist, and therefore maintained that the American dream did not end just in "motor cars and high pay packets." However the reality is that he had to state it was a sign that at that time also, during the gloomy period of the Great Depression, majority of the Americans displayed "better and richer and fuller" mainly with regard to material affluence. Therefore from the initial stages, the American dream possessed a dual character. From one perspective, it refers to decorous ends like freedom, self-fulfillment," and a better life. From a different perspective, it usually points to a specific means to these ends, - a house, landed property, several cars - the collectibles which the sociologist David Riesman labeled as "the standard package" of consumer goods and recreationary scope. Such is the generic nature of the package that the Post which contained a picture of it in the year 1959 matches nearly every item by item four decades later in Vos Savant's narration, with only the Personal Computer added. The American dream which prevailed at that period consists of a collection of "free" ideals whose value cannot be gauged in market terms, and a list of favorites with costly prices. (Calder, 4)

The American Dream to many remained the vision comprising of superior, richer, and more contented life for every one of our citizens representing every strata, which is the maximum giving we have made to the thinking and betterment of the universe. Moreover that vision or expectation has been there right from the beginning. From the era we attained our independence, every generation has witnessed a revolution of the common Americans to protect that dream from the power that seems to be crushing it. (Cullen, 4) Another view of the American Dream has been affirmed by Jeffrey Louis Decker as: "The American Dream' is to be understood as an "ethical doctrine that is symptomatic of a crisis in national identity during the thirties. The newly invented dream calls out for a supplement to the outmoded narrative of individual uplift, which had lost its moral capacity to guide the nation during the Depression." (Appendix S: The American Dream)

The American Dream could be understood in terms of the 'Declaration of Independence'. In the United States, 'Declaration of Independence', our founding fathers: "...held certain truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." (What is the American Dream?) The first view we understand by this dream consists of a remarkable universalism. It never mentions "some men," but rather says "all men." It does not mention "all white men," but rather says "all men," that comprises black men as well. It does not merely say "all Gentiles," but rather 'all men," taking Jews also. It never ends up saying "all Protestants," it says "all men," that contains Catholics also. It does not stop to say "all theists and believers, "it says all men," that comprises humanist and agonistics. While stating "All men are made equal" it implies that every man who resides in a slum at the moment now is just as important as John D. Nelson, or member of the Rockefeller family. Each men living in a slum is just as important as Henry Ford. Every man is made equal, and they are gifted by their God with some inseparable privileges, that cannot be segregated from that person. It implies that "Although you may take my life, but it is impossible for you to take my right to life. You may take liberty away from me; however you cannot take away my right to liberty. You may snatch from me the desire, you may take from me the proclivity to enjoy happiness, but you just cannot snatch from me my right to pursue happiness." (A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.) "We maintain that these truths are patently obvious that every man are created on equal footing and gifted by their Creator with some inseparable right among which are Life, Liberty and the quest of Happiness." (A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Nevertheless it is also required to be taken into account that the American Dream never implies that all men are created at par with regard to their mental potential or their native endowment. Flashes of brilliance are present in every human firmament in every sphere. It does not imply that every artiste stands at par to Beethoven or Handel, Verdi or Mozart. It also does not mean that every scientist of physics is at par with an Einstein. It never means that each and every literary personality in history equals Aeschylus and Euripides, Shakespeare and Chaucer. (A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.)

The same applies to Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel, Kant, and Friedrich Hegel implying that all philosophers are not equal to these great men. These are individuals who stand out and reaching the summit of intelligence in their chosen sphere. What it implies is that every man is at par in terms of their inherent value. The spirit behind all this was truly impacted by the Bible. The entire notion of imago dei, which it is stated in Latin, the "image of God," is the concept that every man possesses something inside them which is inculcated by God. The fact remains that these people do not possess… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "American Dream" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

American Dream.  (2006, November 8).  Retrieved September 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"American Dream."  8 November 2006.  Web.  26 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"American Dream."  November 8, 2006.  Accessed September 26, 2021.