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The American Dream

By now the words: “The American Dream” have been used a vast number of times throughout history, ever since James Truslow Adams drilled the term into everybody’s heads with the publishing of his book: The Epic of America from 1931. The term was also the original title of James Adams’ book, but the publishers were sure that a title like that wouldn’t sell one single copy, since people wouldn’t pay money to read about a dream. Nowadays this seems a bit ironic since today’s heaped measure of consumption, commercial and almost every single money making element in The United States of America is based on people’s interest in The American Dream.

In all commercials for an American product, there will be an element of The American Dream. Some commercials have little of this while others, especially political commercials starring George W. Bush, are almost marinated in The American Dream. For instance, George W. Bush did a commercial that applied to Latin American and Mexican youngsters, where the president himself speaks to these future students and tells them that all people should be able to have a first class education in America. While this goes on, an American flag fluttered in the background to the American anthem, and as the commercial is ending, George Bush winks to the camera as salutes in genuine American manor while saying hello to the youngsters outside the TV screen in their own language. A commercial like this is obviously an exaggerated example. Nevertheless the American industries are absolutely thrilled about the concept of The American Dream. In our time the term an the concept is an incredible money making machine.

But why is it that a very big part of the American people find this concept so fascinating and reliable, when they’re looking for a product on the American market? A part of the explanation has to be the American mentality when it comes their country. Americans are an extremely nationalistic people with an idea of America as being the greatest country in the whole world. This big country has a relatively short history behind it compared to a lot of the European and Eastern countries. But though America’s history might be short, it is nevertheless very eventful. The Americans haven’t always been as nationalistic as they are now. It all started out with the colonisation of the Great West back in those days where people came to this country looking for hope. At first it was all very split up in different cultures, but they were soon to establish one single cultural identity for themselves. And then later on with The Statue of Liberty and The Declaration of Independence, the Americans started to see themselves as a people who had done the impossible. Uniting a nation of that size seemed like an incredible accomplishment. And the Americans have been proud of it ever since believing that no country in the world could do better than them. They now had a country where they could feel safe and where it was all bigger and better. And it was at this point The American Dream started being functional. People from all over the world wanted to go to America and get a better life, and in order to make sure that all the different nationalities and races wouldn’t split out into groups and take America back to the beginning, all people who arrived had assimilate. They had to adopt the American lifestyle and the American way of thinking. Some nationalities even had to change their individual surnames. Surnames which could have been in a family longer than America had ever existed. So the American people think very highly of themselves in some ways. And they see The American Dream as a symbol of achievement and community among themselves. That is why the concept of The American Dream is so popular, and that’s why it’s a very big factor in the commercial industry.

But The American Dream does not only operate inside the frontiers of America. It goes far beyond. In all countries in the world, there are examples of how The American Dream has sort of infiltrated the market with its American products. A good example would be the Coca Cola Company. Probably the most famous American product in the world. Every second the world actually consumes twelve-thousand litres of soft drinks from the Coca Cola Company including the Sprite, the Fanta and the Doctor Pepper drink. One would might think that this company must be remarkably good at advertising in ways so that other nationalities jumps on the wagon. But no. The Coca Cola Company advertises the same American way as they have always done and the world is buying it.

Another example of how The American Dream goes beyond America and out into the world would be the McDonaldization. This concept started in the states with two brothers who decided to open up a fast-food restaurant because the only business that they had seen succeeding in the current economy was a little hot-dog stand. The first McDonald’s became a huge success making forty-thousand dollars in its first year of business. For some reason the two brothers sold their restaurant to a business man named Ray Kroc who wanted to make the restaurant an even bigger success. He succeeded. Starting in 1955, there were seven McDonald’s stores. In 1957, there were forty. By 1960, two-hundred-and-twenty-eight and by 1980, six-thousand-and-two-hundred. In 1990 a store was opened in Moscow, Russia. There are currently over seven-thousand McDonald’s restaurants in over twenty-five countries around the world. And the funny thing is that every country which has a McDonald’s in has never since the building of that particular restaurant declared the USA war. So McDonald’s is also an American product that people all over the world goes to at least once in their life. And McDonald’s advertises the same way as the Coca Cola Company in the traditional American way. So The American Dream is not just an American thing. Countries all over the world may not live The American Dream but they certainly take pleasure in it.