How has the American Dream Changed over Time

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From the first indigenous people who walked here to the modern immigrant who gets here any way they can they all were looking for the American dream of a better life. The American dream was founded in the United States’ Declaration of Independence “ all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”The American dream has changed over time.

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The first people came following food and they either walked or sailed looking for a better life. The American dream was being written about in the newspapers in the late 1800. The American frontier changed the American dream as it broke from the European ideals as the land was free for the taking. the newspapers also wrote about the immigrants who came from Europe for work. During the gold rush American were looking to make a fortune quickly unlike the Puritans before who were looking to make a modest fortune. In the 1920’s the American dream became materialistic. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby which satirized the American dream of materialism. While John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men was about that not everyone could obtain the American Dream. In the 1040’s President Roosevelt said in his State of The Union that the American dream was housing, a Jensen 2 decedent job, good education and quality health care. He set up social programs to help the poor to improve themselves.

James Truslow Adams popularized the modern version of the dream wrote in 1931 “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.” (p.214-215) Just a few years early. After World War II the United States became one of the most powerful society.

The population and wages grew and many moved into new homes in the suburban home owner ship was the goal. The GI bill for the returning vets put college in the reach of the middle class. The American dream could be seen on television with shows like Ozzie and Harriet and leave it to Beaver. This new middle class believed that was education and hard work life would get better for them and their children. But consumerism was creeping into the American dream. The baby boomers where losing the thrift of their depression er parents. When the credit card became popular they were using to finance the American dream on monthly payments. While some who achieving the American dream many other minority were not.

In the early 1960’s Martin Luther king Jr said that the American dream was not fulfilled because of racial discrimination and poverty. By the time the Brady Bunch was on TV the American dream was two cars and nice vacations. The 1970s many thought the dream was dead because of all the racial strife and the divide over the Vietnam War. The middle class was having problems keeping with their middle class dream due to high on their mortgages. President Reagan felt tat by cutting taxes he could restore the American dream. The divide became more pounded as Jensen 3 conservatives wanted to cut taxes while liberals wanted more taxes to help the poor. By the 1990 many thought that the American dream was unachievable.

Today to some the American dream is more material things. Others say that the American dream is not available for the working poor. While some today think of new American dream is a simple fulfilling life. Thomas Wolfe said, “…to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity ….the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him.” “Poor kids, through no fault of their own, are less prepared by their families, their schools, and their communities to develop their God-given talents as fully as rich kids. For economic productivity and growth, our country needs as much talent as we can find, and we certainly can’t afford to waste it. The opportunity gap imposes on all of us both real costs and what economists term “opportunity costs.”

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How Has the American Dream Changed Over Time. (2020, May 12). Retrieved December 5, 2022 , from
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