What is the American dream
American Dream is an expression often used to describe the vital ideals of the US population in both the material and spiritual senses.
The American dream is the ideal of freedom and opportunity, the spiritual power of the nation. If the American system is a skeleton of US policy, the American dream is its soul.
The source of the phrase American Dream is considered to be The Epic of America (1931), historical treatise by James Adams written during the Great Depression. James Adams encouraged his compatriots and reminded them of the purpose of America and its achievements. He states: “The American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous5 circumstances of birth or position.” (p.214-215)
This phrase became the title of a play by Edward Albee (1961) and the novel by Norman Mailer (1965), however, in these works, it was reinterpreted ironically.
«American Dream» is often associated with immigrants who arrived in the United States in search of a better life. The living conditions in Europe and the hope of a better standard of living in America led to the migration of hundreds of thousands to the new world. Impoverished western Europeans escaping the potato famines in Ireland, the Highland clearances in Scotland and the aftermath of Napoleon in the rest of Europe went to America to escape their old life. They had heard about the government in America and hoped for an escape from their old life. Later, Southern and Eastern Europeans came in search of the same dreams sought after by their northern counterparts. Asian Americans began crossing the pacific in the 19th century to find work in the American West. Italian Immigration surged in record numbers in the early 20th century as Jews escaping religious persecution in the Russian of religion, safety and opportunity. Presently Immigrants from across the globe such as people from Southern Asia, Latin America and the former USSR and countless other lands come in search of the American Dream.
The American Dream is the idea held by many in the United States that through hard work, courage and determination one could achieve prosperity. These were values held by many early European settlers, and have been passed on to subsequent generations. What the American dream has become is a question under constant discussion.
Some say, that the American Dream has become the pursuit of material prosperity — that people work more hours to get bigger cars, fancier homes, the fruits of prosperity for their families — but have less time to enjoy their prosperity. Others say that the American Dream is beyond the grasp of the working poor who must work two jobs to insure their family’s survival. Yet others look toward a new American Dream with less focus on financial gain and more emphasis on living a simple, fulfilling life.