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American Dream

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  • srubnaya
    Greetings Fellow Citizens Of America. Maybe Our awakening education of the who, what, where, why and when of Us, could start with the following: American Dream
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2009
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      Greetings Fellow Citizens Of America. Maybe Our awakening education of the who, what, where, why and when of Us, could start with the following:

      American Dream

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      For many immigrants, the Statue of Liberty was their first view of the United States, signifying freedom and personal liberty. The statue is an iconic symbol of the United States and of the American Dream.

      The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States of America in which democratic ideals are perceived as a promise of prosperity for its people. In the American Dream, first expressed by James Truslow Adams in 1931, citizens of every rank feel that they can achieve a "better, richer, and happier life."[1] The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence[2] which states that "all men are created equal"[3] and that they have "certain inalienable Rights"[3] including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."[3]

      The "American Dream" has been credited with helping to build a cohesive American experience but has also been blamed for overinflated expectations.[4] The presence of the American Dream has not historically helped the majority of minority race and lower class American citizens to gain a greater degree of social equality and influence.[5] Instead, the American wealth structure has often been observed to sustain class differences in which well-positioned groups continue to be advantaged.[5]

      In common parlance, the term American Dream is often used as a synonym for home ownership since homes have historically been seen as status symbols separating the middle classes and the poor.[6] This usage, though, while common, is generally considered a very specific use of a more general term.



      [edit] Overview

      Since the early 19th century, the United States has regarded and promoted itself as a beacon of liberty and prosperity achieved through a combination of the philosophical and ethical principles propounded by its founders and implemented in their most perfect form. In tandem with this is its natural wealth and bounty within the New World.

      The meaning of the 'American Dream' has evolved over the course of American history. While historically traced to the New World mystique — the availability of land and the continuing American expansion—the ethos today simply indicates the ability, through participation in the resonant society and culture of the United States, to bring prosperity to oneself.

      America has been viewed[who?] as a land in which one's prospects in life are defined by one's talents and energy rather than by one's family wealth or political connections.

      According to the dream, this includes the opportunity for one's children to grow up and receive an American education and its consequent career opportunities. It is the opportunity to make individual choices without the restrictions of class, caste, religion, race, or ethnic group.

      According to researcher Tommi Uschanov, "american dream" actually characterizes better European societies in which people who born to lower social classes are - according to statistical data - more likely to reach upper social classes during their lives than in the United States.[7]

      [edit] Origin

      Historian and writer James Truslow Adams coined the phrase "American Dream" in his 1931 book Epic of America:

      "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 fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.[8]"

      He also wrote:

      "The American Dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class."

      [edit] Later 20th and 21st centuries

      In recent years, the concept of the American Dream as a national ideal has been studied by various organizations. The conclusions of these studies indicate that during the 1990s to the 2000s, a period of remarkable wealth for the U.S., an increasing number of people confess to having lost faith in the American Dream.[2]

      [edit] Cultural references

      Some authors have written to critique or ridicule the concept, such as John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby about the extreme selfishness of adultery, bootlegging and social climbing sometimes associated with the American Dream, as did Sinclair Lewis in Babbitt, which satirized 20th-century materialism and conformity. Hunter S. Thompson's depicted in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey Into the Heart of the American Dream a dark view of the search for the American Dream in the early 1970s after the collapse of the counter-culture movement; a vision of the cynical politics of Richard Nixon, violence, avarice, ignorance, vicious patriotism and personal alienation, endemic to American society.

      Many films explore the topic of the American Dream. One such film is 1969's Easy Rider, in which characters make a pilgrimage in search of "the true America."

      American comedian George Carlin joked that "it's called the American Dream 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it."

      Casting Crowns have a song entitled "American Dream" on their first album, expressing the negative effects on family life of the pursuit of material wealth and power.

      In the book Watchmen, the American Dream is referenced to when the Comedian and Nite Owl are clearing the streets of protestors against the Cold War. After the chaos and an argument with the Comedian, a somewhat depressed Nite Owl asks, "But this country's disintregrating. What happened to America? What happened to the American dream?" The Comedian, standing among the ruins of the riots while brandishing his shotgun, says, "It came true. You're looking at it."

      Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream named a new flavor of ice cream in honor of comedian Stephen Colbert in 2007 called "Americone Dream," a humorous reference to the extremely patriotic character Colbert plays on The Colbert Report.

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