Thesis statement: Though American dream defines American culture by conveying the theme of prosperity and happiness it also caused adverse impacts on the country.
American dream remains one of the visible element of American culture but it also represents controversial aspects. The concept of American Dream emerged in 1931 luring millions of foreigners all over the world. Through American dream, the country promised prosperity and happiness to the people belonging to it. Dream reflected material influence, successful career and happiness with the range of challenges and unknown circumstances. American dream identifies American culture as; an idealistic place for opportunities, dreams and betterment. Americans recognize American dream as an essential component of its culture-providing platform to locals and immigrants. Technological innovation remains one of the contributing factors. The idea of American dream created attractions for people resulting in increased immigration as millions of people left their homelands in search of jobs and better lives. Self-freedom, self-expression and improved lifestyles are visible elements of the American dream.
Different propositions prevail regarding the national and cultural identity of America. Industrialization remains one of the prominent influencing American cultures through the creation of ‘titans of industry’ and formation of impoverished conditions in the world. Capitalization is one of the most visible elements of American culture dividing humans into two groups; the rich and the poor. American culture is also synonymous with creating winners and the losers and several factors contribute to this notion. James Truslow explains American dream as, “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”. The statement leads to a conflicting situation depicting the need to compare the definition with the practical aspects. The argument claims that American dream does not treat people fairly as it resulted in the benefits of few (AMADEO, 2017).
Causes and Effects
The American dream conferred the idea that state must protect each individual and provides an opportunity that allows him to pursue happiness. Declaration of independence was the central cause of promoting American dream and making it part of American culture. The revolutionary idea was presented by founding fathers with the goal of providing a safe living environment to the people. The American culture created the society that could proliferate the concept of self-indulgence, ambition and happiness. The concept emphasized on the creation of free market economy, promoting trade and investment and protection. Geographical, political and economic factors played significant roles in setting conducive environment to the people. Civil war paved ways for American dream as it motivated the oppressed groups to demand equality and happiness. America was a country with abundant natural resources so its trade with other countries enhanced the economy. The strong economic position of the country contributed towards the attainment of the American dream as it provided jobs to millions of local and foreign people. Enhanced transportation network and terrains encouraged trade thus further improving the economy. The dream according to Abraham Lincoln was to give equal living opportunities to the slaves. The nineteenth amendment 1918 and the civil rights Act 1964 contributed towards the enhancement of American dream (Cullen).
American dream involved many benefits for the society such as opening trade, bringing investments and increasing jobs. The living standards of the people improved and they experienced happiness in their lives. The dream generated more revenue for the country and focused on tax collections thus improving the stability. It focuses on enhancing education and making children more educated that results in their better future (Yoon and Kim). American dream morphed the rights the 1920s to create a better desire for acquiring material things. It encouraged people to accept challenges and change their fates through struggles. American people aimed to change their lives by enhancing their living standards and acquiring material things. However, the impact of the dream also caused negative impacts on the world. The real application of American dream according to analysts was opposite to the original idea of hope and glimmer. The dream caused more destruction and was a false pretence reflected through the increased greed of owners and powerful. American dream transformed the society to materialist and selfish. American society cared more about wealth than moral values thus giving birth to exploitation and other social problems. The governments never declined their spending resulting in increased deficits. Increased immigration from other countries increased competition and resulted in unemployment (Yoon and Kim).
American culture still represented two sides of the American dream; the brighter and the darker. American dream at one extreme allowed millions of people to attain their goals and live a better life while of other extreme caused hopelessness and helplessness. The owners of the capitalist industry represented the perfect American dream but their engagement in exploitative practices eliminates the concept of equal opportunities for the poor or struggling. Every American has a dream of gaining power and status thus becoming part of American culture. The rich enjoy the material benefits while the poor suffer their repercussions. Division of power is also a prominent outcome of the American culture better viewed under the concept of the American dream. The concept of equal opportunities is also missing in practical terms appear in the social problems of race and gender differences (Altermann).
- Topic sentence giving the idea of the topic under discussion.
- Summarizing the main idea
- Representing the background information
- Cultural identity of Americans
- Role of capitalism in culture
- How it is a different place for winners and losers
Causes and effects
- Topic sentence giving overview of American culture.
- Origins of the American dream and its relevance with American culture
- Factors promoting the concept of American dream
- Causes of the American dream and how it becomes stronger with time
- Benefits of American dream such as jobs and investments
- Impacts on the society both positive and negative
- Challenges and struggles associated
- Transformation to a materialistic world
- How the model works in real life; brighter and darker side
- The relevance of the term in present American culture
- Changes occurring with time
Yoon, Sunyee and Hyeongmin Christian Kim. “Keeping the American Dream Alive: The Interactive Effect of Perceived Economic Mobility and Materialism on Impulsive Spending,” .” Journal of Marketing Research 52.5 (2016): 759-772.
Altermann, John B. “The Great Awakening.” Jordan Journal of International Affairs 1.1 (2007): 39-46.
AMADEO, KIMBERLY. What Is the American Dream? The History That Made It Possible. 2017. 11 03 2018 <https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-the-american-dream-quotes-and-history-3306009>.
Cullen, Jim. The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation. Oxford UP, 2003.