What is the American Dream?

“The “American Dream” is a kind of ethos, or set of values that motivate numerous U.S. citizens as they attempt to make a new life they can call their own. This romantic set of beliefs that include concepts of individual rights, freedom, democracy and equality is founded on the notion that every person has the right to strive for happiness and prosperity regardless of where they were born or when their birthplace is.

The most important aspect of the American dream is the conviction that, with dedication and persistence any person can climb “from rags to riches,” becoming financially prosperous as well as socially and professionally upwardly mobile.

The Origin of the American Dream

The American Dream is rooted in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. This document, written by America’s founding fathers, states two fundamental principles: the primary reason for creating the traditional American Dream. The declaration states that “all men are created equal” and that everyone is entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

It is important to remember that the U.S. Constitution – the legal basis that defines how the government should be operating daily in its Preamble. It states its goal is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

The Many Versions of the American Dream

Over the years of U.S. – both before and after becoming an independent country The American Dream has changed, changing its shapes and meanings while keeping its fundamental principles of happiness and freedom.

At its beginning the dream was centred around the prospect of expansion westward and the frontier lifestyle within the U.S. In 1774, Virginia’s Governor John Murray, said that most Americans were always thinking the possibility that “the Lands further off are still better than those upon which they are already settled.” He also remarked the unending frustration and the desire for more and better , when he wrote “If they attained Paradise, they would move on if they heard of a better place farther west.”

19 th Century America

Through the late 19 in the 19th century, the first waves of mass emigration were influenced by the American Dream. An excellent example is the departure of a lot of educated Germans who emigrated into America. U.S. after the failure of the 1848 German revolution and the effort to dismantle hierarchical norms. They were attracted by the economic and political liberties embraced in the New World, and the reality that America didn’t operate on the same class system as it did, and also did not subscribe to the belief that one could only attain as much as the class of their choice.

The American Dream was also significantly developed and enacted by the discovery and development of gold during the 19 the century. The discovery in 1849 in California brought in thousands of people who believed they could also make an enormous fortune in a matter of days. However, while the majority did not several families spent all their savings on the smallest amount, some were able to make a fortune within a few days. Although it has changed over several years, and also different economic and political circumstances in the nation, the idea that personal success is achievable for everyone remains a motivational factor that drives Americans in the present.

The 20 thCentury American Dream

The phrase “American Dream” became even more well-known in the 20 century. The term “American Dream” became more popular in the 20th century, mostly on the cover of the James Truslow Adams’s 1931 novel, “Epic of America.” Adams wrote about his observations on how”the American Dream had changed over time , and that it was hard for European aristocrats to grasp its significance or the reason it attracted millions of people to America.

Adams was later quoted as saying, “the American Dream is, “not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of a 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 their birth or position.”

A prominent American historian also highlighted it was despite expansion of the nation, it was the growth of the wealthy and successful, and the way these families created a kind of social order, where people who were in positions of wealth were more likely to succeed and enjoy greater opportunities and opportunities. The belief was that anyone could achieve happiness and success regardless. He also said that “the American Dream is and has been “… more than it is. It’s been a desire to be able to progress to the fullest extent as a woman and man, not impeded by the barriers that were slowly erected in the earlier civilizations, and not hampered by social order that created for the benefit of the classes, not for the human beings of all classes.”

Without engaging in the long-winded debate of the politics of the time, several movements, like the fight for the rights females to cast a vote and Civil Rights movements which took off in the 1960s formed part of the genesis, and then further shaped by in the context of the American Dream.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the American Dream


To achieve the American dream requires both political and economic freedom along with laws of law in addition to private rights of property. Without them, people cannot make the decisions that enable them to succeed and also be confident that their accomplishments aren’t removed from them by arbitrarily imposed force.

The American dream is about liberty and equality. It allows one to make large and the small choices that shape your life, the ability to dream of greater and better things and the chance of achieving these goals, the ability to build wealth and the chance to live a an honorable life, and the liberty to live life according to the values of one’s choice, even if they are not widely embraced or widely accepted.

The novels of post-Civil War writer Horatio Alger, where teens who are impoverished, but hardworking, achieve success by sheer determination perseverance, determination, and luck, were able to represent the dream of a lifetime.


The idea of calling it a “dream” also carries with it the idea that these ideas aren’t the reality that has been portrayed within the daily lives of many Americans and those who wish to be Americans. The notion that the reality isn’t as good as what is believed to be the American dream is, at a minimum, as old as the concept itself. The expansion of settlements across Native American lands, slavery and the restriction of the voting rights (originally) on landowners of white men and numerous other challenges and injustices have slowed the progress of the American dream for many living in America. The United States.

In the wake of increasing income inequality significantly since the 1970s and beyond, the American ideal has become less feasible for those who aren’t financially secure or have been born into wealth. As per U.S. Census family income data, the real income of families increased significantly for those in the top income category compared to other sections of American society.


The truth is that ultimately, the American Dream maintains a core set of values that guarantee certain freedoms that permit everyone to live an existence of success and happiness. What happiness and success mean to one person may not necessarily be the same for others. It’s the individual American to determine what the American Dream will look like for them, and with the understanding that America gives them the chance to pursue it without restriction.