Discussions Of The American Dream English Literature Essay

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In discussions of the American Dream, one controversial issue has been uneven views of the dream. On one hand, individuals argue they work hard for what they have. In relations to work ethics, foreign individuals believe in contending to their dedication of working hard to living the American dream. On the other hand, foreign individuals contend it is their hard work and dedication that defines The American Dream. Others even maintain that there is no hope for an American Dream due to economic hardships. From my perception, having a goal is the first step to accomplishing the American dream. As long as an individual works on accomplishing and maintaining their goal we might all soon be able to achieve the infamous "American Dream".

The American Dream has a variety of interpretations, but one of the most popular term is "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (Declaration of Independence 1) which is the lifestyle that most Americans strive for. In simpler terms, the American dream is the opportunity of the pursuit of freedom, opportunity and satisfaction of needs and wants. As 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" (Wolfe2). He explains how everyone in the United States gets the right to fulfill their personalized version of the American dream which is to function as a member of modern day society and to pursue their hopes and dreams. Even if an individual isn't from this blessed country and they are underprivileged or destitute, then they have the chance to turn their destiny around through hard work and determination. Wolfe also states that everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream, depending on how much effort they put in or how fortunate they are. In other words, some people will be able to work hard and achieve their dreams, while others will work hard and not end up being fortunate enough to complete their goals. Some businesses failed due to the recession. This economic down turn crushed many American's fantasy, and caused controversy and loss of hope. Americans need to realize that they can achieve their dreams but they will hit some rough spots, but their dream should never die.

Even though the concept of the American Dream is relatively well known the term "The American Dream" was actually used in 1931 in a book called The Epic of America by James Adams. In this book, Adams states that 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" (Adams2). He goes on to say that "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" (Adams 3). Adam is emphasizing that every individual has equal opportunity. So no matter what race, religion, or ethnicity someone is, they all have the same exact chance at success. This of course depends on how hard each person works towards their goals. If everyone works hard to achieve their goals towards their own personal American Dream, then they will succeed in their efforts.

To elaborate, every day Americans encounter a dream, and every day many act upon it. We truly live in a land of opportunity. The American Dream is created by which this nation was developed on. This nation was founded by people who had a desire for freedom and a desire to build a stable home in their own nation which defines the American Dream. Our founding fathers fought so that the future generations would be able to make their dreams realities. Abe Lincoln is a wonderful example. He fought for freedom through creating the emancipation proclamation by enforcing the Gettysburg act. Abe Lincoln stood tall and led us through the Civil War with the belief "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government - of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." (Capozzoli, 11). They fought for the American Dream, equality. For example, Martin Luther King fought for civil rights and took upon nonviolence protest for years so that the future minorities could live a life of equality. They wanted to allow and grant us the American Dream of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." (Jefferson, 239) To have the desire and the drive to carry out ones aspirations demonstrates the American Dream. The American Dream embraces everything that helps to create happiness in this nation. The American Dream is something truly a privilege that shouldn't be taken for granted. It set our great nation apart from any other country. It doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, all you need is a dream and the motivation to achieve it.

To continue our descendants decided to risk accomplishing their goal for ultimate freedom. When Benjamin Franklin stated clearly: "We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately." (Dolbeare 2). The founding fathers declared the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. An unfortunate Scottish man named Andrew Carnegie immigrated to America and created the world's largest steel mill and was the wealthiest man in the country. Through his philanthropy he gave his riches away and helped build great libraries reminding us: "No man becomes rich, unless he enriches others."(Capozzoli, 7)

While immigrants such as Andrew Carnegie show that we can all achieve our dreams, historic figures such as Edison remind us that it is okay for us to fail. After over 10,000 attempts, Thomas Edison finally invented the electric light bulb. After many tries Henry Ford put America on the road with the Model T cars. Our soldiers fought bravely in both World Wars while the tombs of the soldiers that fought for us continue to burn bright in our minds. They are a sober reminder that the price of freedom is never free. Our American heroes are gone but not forgotten. A courageous man with polio who could no longer walk at ease brought the world's aggressors to their knees as we triumphed in victory at the close of World War II. For this, we thank Franklin Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt became the champion for social justice and encouraged us: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."(Roosevelt, 157)

Men such as Napoleon, Carnegie and Norman Peale taught us about maintain hope and riches. Walt Disney built a magic kingdom and achieved his American Dream. American citizens landed our man on the moon and achieved the greatest dream during the cold war. Martin Luther King heart felt speech "I have a dream," opened our eyes (King, 347). While wars and hardships took the lives of our greatest leaders, Americans kept strong to their hopes and did not give up hope. As we enter the new developing world we must all hold strong on hope, faith and belief that believe that today "the American Dream is alive and well to all those who choose to chase after it." (Backford, 2).

The American Dream is hope and perseverance to achieve a goal at hand. It is an increasingly growing idea, and no matter what your background is, it is up to you to define your future in this great nation. This nation is a place where dreams can become reality, if you work hard enough. What "American Dream" will you achieve today?

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