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Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

What exactly is the "American Dream"?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7892points) December 13th, 2010

Question speaks for itself.
Have you achieved the American Dream?

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12 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I think it’s when you go from ‘nothing to something’ with only the help of your own motivation and determination, or wealthy parents.

AmWiser's avatar

I think its suppose to be the ability for everyone to achieve prosperity. But I have recently heard the American Dream has died.:(
As for me I am prosperous in my own way….I’m happy.

Doppelganger19's avatar

For me, it’s summed up in one word: possibility.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

To me, the idea of the American Dream is the idea that America understands that all people are born with unalienable rights, given to them by their Creator, not government. All rights derive from property rights. The first property you own, is yourself, when you’re born. All rights come with responsibilities, but the only thing that limits your rights, is someone else’s equal rights. The government is supposed to protect people’s rights.
The Consititution was written with these ideas in mind to help its citizens achieve life, liberty, and prosperity, which forms the basis of “the American Dream.” We are taught that if we educate ourselves and work hard, we will be able to grow up wealthy and be able to purchase a home and support our family.
Unfortunately, I believe our country is being used as a front for corporations to run amock throughout the world, distorting the meaning of the Constitution and rights through the media which they own. America was founded on freedom and liberty, which was supposed to lead to properity, not the other way around and until we get back to following the Constitution and understanding the difference between rights and privelages, the American Dream will remain just that… a Dream.

Like George Carlin said, “They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

In a larger sense, it’s the possibility to achieve things. One of those components is usually owning land – after all, most people came over here because they couldn’t own land where they were.

TexasDude's avatar

In my mind, it’s the idea that you can earn money however you like and use it to do things you enjoy, purchase property that you can do pretty much whatever you want with, or use it to make more money- all under the condition that you allow others the benefit to do the same.

Individual liberties, and all that jazz.

wundayatta's avatar

The American Dream is a founding myth of the United States. I do not say myth in the sense that it isn’t true. I mean myth in that it is an archetypal idea of what it means to be American. As a myth, it is huge; containing many ideas. I’m sure we could all pitch in an idea and there would be more to go when we got through all the jellies.

Most of the ideas others have mentioned are part of the myth. The idea that poverty is not a barrier to being successful. You can pull yourself up by your boot straps. You can be a “self-made man.” That there is equal opportunity for everyone. No one is held back by their background.

Extending this idea; the American Dream suggests that it is possible for everyone to have a house and own some land. And perhaps become the wealthiest man on the planet.

The Dream is out there, and people believe it even though most people can’t fulfill its promise. In some ways, one could say the Dream goes too far in giving people an unrealistic idea of what can happen. But it does happen…. for a few. And it is in the heads of many, many more.

flutherother's avatar

It was, and I use the past tense deliberately, the idea that anyone, no matter his background had the opportunity to make a glorious success of his life in a brand new country.

YARNLADY's avatar

You might be interested in comparing @wundayatta‘s answer this time with his answer last year to this same question. The difference might be in the details. See also where that discussion went, compared to this one.

wundayatta's avatar

@YARNLADY What did you see there? What’s the difference?

YARNLADY's avatar

This time No one is held back by their background.
Then We have less class mobility now than ever. If you’re born poor, you have less chance of getting out of poverty than in many other countries.

prankcrazy2013's avatar

haha i just had this on my english final last thursday, the American dream is money power and lots and lots of greed.Im a sophomore in high school btw… My teacher had told us that the American Dream is all related to “the Great Gatsby”, if i were you i would read this book its pretty good.. it tells about the american dream and the characters in the book who are living the dream. Its not a real dream like when you fall asleep, its a real life goal that most kids set when they are little and all they care about is money.

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