Money and the American Dream

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The American dream may seem far-fetched and unreachable, but to some, this dream is a beacon of life full of richness and fullness for everyone. Though the true definition has been redefined and expanded repeatedly, in essence, the “American Dream” is an idea that puts forth the belief that all people can succeed through hard work, and can be successful because of it. This dream is not merely a dream of fancy cars and big mansions, but instead it is a dream of each man and woman obtaining the highest reputation that they are able to acquire through personal abilities and achievements. Although it may not be the easiest, the American dream is still graspable for every generation, including people from rural areas. The American dream is made possible through education, stability, marriage, and family.

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“Money and the American Dream”

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The American Dream is a concept that is older than the United States, going back to the seventeenth century. There are many things that factor into the American dream, but one of the most important factors is having a proper education. Many have come to know that the greatest thing that propels people forward into success in American is education. People know this to be true simply because it provides the surest path to social mobility and opportunities. ¨From the educational benefits of smaller class sizes and individual teacher attention to the social benefits of widespread community support and a comforting sense of belonging, rural schools provide both tangible and intangible benefits to the students and families they serve.¨ () Education is important to millions of people across the nation, but it is more crucial to the small rural areas where education offers an outlet, and a free escape to live a better life. This one thing can bridge gaps and help children reach their fullest potential. Education allows students, rural in specific, to find ways to fuel their passions and help set their feet on the right path.

To continue, a successful American dream is also reachable through stability. Despite many facing financial issues in recent years, most Americans seem to have already conquered the American dream. According to Seth Fiegerman, ¨Some 68% of adults in this country believe they will achieve the American dream, or have already done so, according to a new survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts.¨ () More and more people are feeling as if they have already obtained the American dream to some degree thanks to stability and security. Stability seems to provide people with more comfort than wealth does. Fiegerman goes on, ¨But the data in the report also points to another reason: Our very notion of the American dream seems to have changed with the recession as well. Rather than define this dream as the desire to be “wealthy,” Pew found that those surveyed were more likely to emphasize words like “security” and “stability.” Indeed, when asked to choose whether their priority was financial stability or climbing the income ladder, 85% chose the former.¨ () This is very interesting because most believe that in order to live the American dream, one must have tons of wealth, but this is a huge misconception. The American public has this preconceived idea that in order to be successful, money has to be at the forefront, but this is not true. While money is important, having firm security and stability should come first. Fiegerman ends with, ¨Not only are Americans learning to live within their means, we may be learning to dream within our means as well.¨ It can certainly be discouraging to young adults who find themselves in rural areas with, what seems to be, nothing to work with given the circumstances. With stability, whether that is provided through job security or the furtherment of education, a person living in a rural area may find themselves on the verge of the American dream. It is ultimately with a connotation such as this that the American dream seems much more obtainable.

Next, marriage is also essential to the path of living the American dream. Marriage is a great thing that promotes the common good by raising up children and creating families. Marriage is an enormous benefit to everyone involved: men, women, and even children. Former US senator Rick Santorum said, ¨Those living with their two married parents through age 16 have higher grades, higher college aspirations, and better attendance records than children in one-parent families or who experience family disruption. They also are half as likely to drop-out of high school.¨ It is clear that marriage helps children on many levels. Marriage plays a significant role in the American dream. Men need a partner to help support their journey, just like women need a partner to support them in their endeavors as well. Children also benefit from marriage in the sense that it paves the pathway for a successful future. Marriage is necessary to the American dream not only because of its intrinsic good, but also because of its benefit to family life.

Finally, the single most important thing pertaining to the American dream is family. Family is what drives the American dream. When talking about the crucialness of family for the American dream, the Washington Examiner said, ¨That’s because it is rooted in intact families and strong communities. This opinion isn’t an esoteric one confined to conservatives but is the incontrovertible conclusion of empirical data and social science.¨() In order to live out the American dream that so many yearn to do, it is important to have a firm foundation such as a strong family. It is statistically proven that by living in a productive, intact family that one can make more money, live healthier, and reach the American dream easier. An article by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robert L. Lerman says, ¨… that Americans of all stripes — be they conservative or liberal — concerned about the health of the American Dream should be concerned about the health of the American family.¨ () The American family is the sole thing that should be the concreted foundation for the American dream. Rural area families are known for having close-knit relationships, which is something that should be instilled into all generations. Family and family closeness is essential, and can be especially beneficial to young generations who are pursuing the American dream. It is through these various statistics and research, one can easily determine the vitality of having a family when pertaining to the well-being of the American dream.

In conclusion, there is a misconception among the American people that the American Dream is nothing but a false hope and nothing short of hopelessness. Though it is typically communicated in great complexity, the American Dream is actually quite simple. The American Dream is achievable through education, stability, marriage, and family. These elements are a necessity for this endeavor, and have each been proven to be beneficial to many aspects of life. So often these elements are made out to be difficult through the misconstrued information relayed through other people, the news, etc. The majority of the obstructed opinions of these matters are based on the status of the country itself and its economy. It is safe to say that even the strongest of economies struggle. This economic rollercoaster that the U.S. has been experiencing has tarnished the American Dream. The current generation faces tremendous college debt, as well unemployment, creating extensive levels of employability. Though it can easily be discouraging, it is important to remember that this generation faces the same barriers of those who suffered through the Great Depression, and they made it through. This generation can follow in those footsteps, no matter if they come from the lowest socioeconomic area that there is with no wealth built up or the most luxurious cities and backgrounds. The American Dream takes much more than a college education, wealth, and a lot of success. This Dream takes grit, passion, determination, and gut, all of which come together to create an incredible character and morale. To simply put it that is the “American Dream”. This Dream too often associates happiness with wealth, but happiness stems much deeper than just that. This connotation makes it seem that the American Dream could quite possibly always be out of grasp for most Americans, creating this idea that there is a falsehood in the Dream itself. What this generation needs to focus on is the bolsterment of their confidence and their steadfastness to conquer what they believe to be is their “American Dream”. It is then that they will be able to say that they truly succeeded.

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Money and the American Dream. (2020, May 12). Retrieved December 7, 2022 , from
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