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American Dream Themes

Thesis statement: Though the American dream defines American culture by conveying the theme of prosperity and happiness, it also has adverse impacts on the country.

The American dream remains one of the visible elements of American culture, but it also represents controversial aspects. The concept of the American Dream emerged in 1931, luring millions of foreigners all over the world. Through the American dream, the country promised prosperity and happiness to the people belonging to it. Dream reflected material influence, successful career, and happiness with a range of challenges and unknown circumstances. American Dream identifies American culture as an idealistic place for opportunities, dreams, and betterment. Americans recognize the American dream as an essential component of its culture, providing a platform for locals and immigrants. Technological innovation remains one of the contributing factors. The idea of the 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 influences on American culture through the creation of ‘titans of industry’ and the 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 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 the American Dream does not treat people fairly, as it results in benefits for a few (AMADEO, 2017).

Causes and Effects

The American dream conferred the idea that the state must protect each individual and provide an opportunity that allows him to pursue happiness. Declaration of Independence was the central cause of promoting the American dream and making it part of American culture. The revolutionary idea was presented by the founding fathers with the goal of providing a safe living environment to the people. The American culture created a society that could proliferate the concept of self-indulgence, ambition, and happiness. The concept emphasized the creation of a free market economy, promoting trade investment and protection. Geographical, political, and economic factors played significant roles in setting a conducive environment for the people. Civil war paved the way for the 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 networks 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 of 1918 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 contributed towards the enhancement of the American dream (Cullen).

The American dream involved many benefits for 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 stability. It focuses on enhancing education and making children more educated, which results in a better future (Yoon and Kim). American dream morphed the rights in 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 dream also had negative impacts on the world. The real application of the American dream, according to analysts, was opposite to the original idea of hope and glimmer. The dream caused more destruction and was a false pretense reflected through the increased greed of owners and the powerful. American dream transformed society into 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).

Example

American culture still represented two sides of the American dream: the brighter and the darker. The American dream, at one extreme, allowed millions of people to attain their goals and live a better life, while at another extreme, it 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 the repercussions. Division of power is also a prominent outcome of the American culture, which is better viewed under the concept of the American dream. The concept of equal opportunities is also missing in practical terms and appears in the social problems of race and gender differences (Altermann).

Outline

Paragraph 1

Introduction

  • Topic sentence giving the idea of the topic under discussion.
  • Summarizing the main idea
  • Representing the background information

Paragraph 2

  • Cultural identity of Americans
  • Role of capitalism in culture
  • How it is a different place for winners and losers

Paragraph 3

Causes and effects

  • Topic sentence giving an overview of American culture.
  • Origins of the American dream and its relevance with American culture
  • Factors promoting the concept of the American Dream
  • Causes of the American dream and how it becomes stronger with time

Paragraph 4

  • Benefits of the American Dream, such as jobs and investments
  • Impacts on society, both positive and negative
  • Challenges and struggles associated
  • Transformation to a materialistic world

Paragraph 5

Example

  • How the model works in real life: brighter and darker side
  • The relevance of the term in present American culture
  • Changes occurring with time

Work Cited

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.

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