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The American Dream. Myth or Reality?. Definition:.

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the american dream

The American Dream

Myth or Reality?



“The term was first used by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America which was written in 1931. He states: ‘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.’”

clarity and questions

Clarity and Questions:

“In the United States’ 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." Might this sentiment be considered the foundation of the American Dream?”

to be considered

To be considered . . .

“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? Were the immigrants who came to the United States looking for their bit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their Dream? And 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? Is the American Dream attainable by all Americans? Would Martin Luther King feel his Dream was attained? Did Malcolm X realize his Dream?”

evolution of the dream

Evolution of the 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. 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. Yet others look toward a new American Dream with less focus on financial gain and more emphasis on living a simple, fulfilling life.”

the new american dream

The New American Dream

The Center for the New American Dream:

“New American Dream was founded in 1997 to address the environmental and social impacts of unsustainable consumption.  In a little over a decade of existence, we have reached tens of millions of Americans through targeted media campaigns, shifted billions of dollars into environmentally superior goods through our Responsible Purchasing Network, and built a New Dream Community of more than 140,000 Americans who embrace less materialistic lifestyles and make healthier choices.”

where are we now

Where are we now?

“The New American Dream”

“The Center for a New American Dream envisions a society that values more of what matters – not just “more."  New American Dream is dedicated to helping support and nurture an American dream that revives the spirit of the traditional dream—but with a new emphasis on non-material values like financial security, fairness, community, health, time, nature, and fun.  We see both a nation and a world in which a healthy global ecosystem anchors a just society offering all citizens the freedom, the resources and the personal security necessary to pursue their dreams, connect with the natural world, and enjoy a high quality of life.”

think about

Think about . . .

How do I fit into all of this (past and present)?

In what ways have I contributed to the American society?

Do I fit into the stereotype of youth in America?

In what ways have I approached the “New American Dream”?

How does reading literature about the struggle of attaining dreams help me understand my own life?