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American Dream

American Dream — an American belief that anyone regardless of origin can reach success and wealth in the USA. This term appeared in the book “Epic of America” by James Truslow Adams. The writer developed the idea of a society where each individual can unfold their potential. To do so, they need three things: hard work, risk, and sacrifice. 

This is not surprising. The Americans had been forming as a nation of immigrants where the individual doesn’t require being a child of Americans to receive citizenship. Some immigrants had arrived from Europe escaping from political or religious persecution. Others were the representatives of the lower classes who wanted to live a better life.  

Components of the American Dream

The concept “American dream” is composed of certain components. There are values, beliefs, and patterns of actions. Each component has appeared due to the different historical events in the country. 

The values are justice and equality. These values allowed the USA to regain independence from Great Britain and provided the basis for the American constitution.

The key belief is the equality of opportunity. This means that every person has the right to pursue happiness and wealth. Therefore, this belief assumes respect for individuality, personal opinion, and initiative.

The main pattern of action is the quest for wealth. Every person has the right to get rich, that’s why the market should be maximally free from state regulation. The culture also encourages the aspiration for personal success, that’s why the “success story” is one of the leading motifs in American pop culture. 

Two famous representations of the American dream are homeownership and the own business. A house means the opportunity to control the living space and be independent of the landlord. The second representation is the possibility of becoming one’s boss and having their own business. As a result, the encouragement of free enterprise and the support of small enterprises allowed the USA to become the leading capitalist country. 

As one can see, the American dream offers the idea of a society where every individual can be their own master and reach happiness through his efforts. 

Critics of the American Dream

In later years this concept was criticized due to the dark moments of history. The colonization of Native Americans, racial discrimination, and social inequality made the realization of the American dream impossible for many people. So these social injustices had caused the discussion of whether the American dream is still achievable.  

Today the notion of the American dream is mostly used in the ironic context to emphasize social inequality and constant striving for achievements. However, modern people try to make this dream real for everyone. There are a huge number of initiatives that support the national minorities and people of color to make the American dream real for the large number of citizens. 

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