The American Dream was a ultra myth and a reality for immigrants coming to the united States as well as middle and lower class Americans who sought a better future and believed that the American economy provided opportunities for them to succeed In life regardless of the family or social class they were born Into. The dream at this time focused on owning land and having a prosperous business; to many immigrants it was a land that was new and had a government made up of people rather than royalty or a single dictator meaning that the United States was a desirable place to move to and lid a life.
In colonial America, a new equality was brought about; interaction amongst different classes through employees speaking to employers meant that through dedication and hard work they could improve their status and move up the hierarchy. America’s westward expansion then led for people to live more rugged lives and strive for land on the frontier – this American Ideal saw people fighting to own a piece of land and so was very competitive and Individualistic.
The American Dream has become very diverse and has had a major Impact on politics, economics, art, and culture In American society therefore making It an Important aspect to many American’s lives (whether they are aware of it or not). Whether the dream is a stereotypically ‘average’ one of owning a house with a white picket fence, having a stable job, being married and having children; this version of the dream focuses on avoiding poverty and loneliness rather than being greatly wealthy or successful. Or whether the dream is the opportunity to improve upon the past and live a better life than the previous generation did.
In essence the American Dream is about self- success and building character, however as America has aged and developed so has the concept of the American Dream. World War II bought about a new American Dream, a shared dream In which everyone worked together In order to make life better for America as a whole. The encouragement of participating in the war from Americans was to the belief that people worldwide deserved the chance to realism the ‘American’ Dream and that they could advertise their national concept of Idealism globally.
At this time president Roosevelt said that America was fighting for the four elision, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Post war, Americans had the ideal of the White-picket fence’ dream, having happy, family filled homes. More recently and with the development of technology and the television in particular, the American dream has become more modernized and more heavily linked with material goods such as expensive cars, computers and gadgets etc.
Overall, the American Dream has leant towards building and shaping the characters of most if not all Americans. In comparison with many Europeans, Americans seem to be much ore independent and self-sufficient, however it could be argued that this is because they have been born into a family that has the opportunity and wealth to do so. The ever-changing way that the American Dream seems to adapt however always links back to the idea of individual success and upward mobility in the world that we are living in.
In the Lager’s books you see the transformation of people who have very little to something that they can be proud of, this idea in theory seems to be comforting in the idea that anyone can do anything if they work hard enough for it although on further inspection this has many negative connotations. There are many criticisms to the American Dream which should be explored; some would argue that the American dream will often disregard discrimination based on a person’s race, religion, gender etc. Which inhibits them from achieving their goals or fulfilling their own personal American Dream. Also with the American Dream comes the American Nightmare; slavery, unemployment, loneliness. Similarly what Alger fails to show in his literature is those who haven’t the money or opportunity to get to where they ant to be in life; if they are too poor to buy food or respectable, clean clothes then others will not give them the opportunities to succeed in the same way as the average lower middle classes.