What is “THE AMERICAN DREAM”?
What is the American Dream? • Define the Dream • Analyze the Dream by examining different sources and various groups of people • Write a personal manifesto about your own American Dream
Defining the American Dream • In your own words, how would you define the American Dream? • What words or images stand out in your mind? • Are there songs or other entertainment media that you could apply to the Dream?
AMERICAN DREAM • Land of Opportunity • Rags to Riches—Anyone can become rich, famous, and powerful. • Jobs and education are available to all who want them. • Meritocracy (rewards) = skill + effort. • Through hard work, courage and determination, one can achieve prosperity. Americans can live better than their parents did.
Coming to America • America is called the “Melting Pot” because of the immigration here from all over the world. Even though immigrants spoke different languages, had different cultures, and held different beliefs, the one thing they all had in common was to pursue the “American Dream”…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The American Dream is the dream of a land where all people can succeed through hard work. It is also an idea that suggests that all people have the potential to live happy, successful lives.
Let’s view a few video’s about the “American Dream”…. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v83imxeoCI4 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHB1KvEOOzg • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO0BJMv58fc
Originally, the focus was on hard work and religious freedom. Today, however, the focus seems to be on material prosperity and fame. • The American Dream is deeply rooted in American society. • Several critics have pointed out that this dream is not attainable to all because of the inequality rooted in class, race and ethnic origin.
The phrase “The American Dream” came into the American vocabulary starting in 1867 when writer, Horatio Alger came out with his book “Ragged Dick.” It was a rags-to-riches tale of a poor orphan boy in New York City who saved his pennies, worked hard and eventually became rich. • It became the model that through honesty, hard work and strong determination, the American Dream was available to anyone willing to make the journey.
It all begins with a Dream . . . • You see things and say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were and I say, “Why not?” • ~George Bernard Shaw
James Truslow Adams • First to coin the term “American Dream” in 1931 • "The American Dream is "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."
Analyze Adams’ quote • Is there anything that is confusing or difficult to interpret? • What parts do you agree with? • What parts do you disagree with?
Declaration of Independence • Our founding fathers: "…held certain truths to be self-evident, that 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."
Analyze the Declaration of Independence • Is there anything that is confusing or difficult to interpret? • Many people consider this statement to be the foundation of the American Dream. • Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Homesteaders Moving West • Were homesteaders who left the big cities of the east to find happiness and their piece of land in the unknown wilderness pursuing these inalienable Rights?
Immigration-Then Statue of Liberty Immigrants arriving on Ellis Island in the reception hall
Immigration-Now Highway safety sign posted along the U.S./Mexico border A couple meets at a border fence
Immigration-Then and Now • What are your thoughts on immigration? • Were the immigrants who came to the United States looking for their bit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their Dream?
WWII Veterans • What did the desire of the veteran of World War II - to settle down, to have a home, a car and a family - tell us about this evolving Dream?
Martin Luther King, Jr. • Would Martin Luther King feel his Dream was attained? • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVxaYz0SRMY&feature=related
Let’s read an article about Do We Need $75,000 a Year to Be Happy? By Belinda Luscombe Monday, Sep. 06, 2010 Let’s answer some questions…..
Is this your American Dream? • Some say, that the American Dream has become the pursuit of material prosperity - that people work more hours to get bigger cars, fancier homes, the fruits of prosperity for their families - but have less time to enjoy their prosperity.
Or is this your American Dream? • Yet others look toward a new American Dream with less focus on financial gain and more emphasis on living a simple, fulfilling life.
Is the American Dream unattainable? • Others say that the American Dream is beyond the grasp of the working poor who must work two jobs to insure their family’s survival.
The writer 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.”
REFLECT : How accurate is the “American Dream”? You will work in groups of 3 to decide: *What does the “American Dream” mean in today's world? Is it the same for all Americans? Is it a myth? Is it simply a quest for a better life? *Why do some see their dreams fulfilled, and others see their dreams wither and die?*How has the “American Dream” changed over time? *What factors affect these major events in history (political, economic, educational, social, etc.)? * What is your personal “American Dream”? What isyour groups personal dream, as a whole?
DREAMS • Your dreams are your creative vision of your life in the future. • Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today. • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. • Each person’s destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. It’s determined by what we say, what we do, and whom we trust.