In 1776 Thomas Jefferson, a free man, asserted in the “Declaration of Independence,” that everyone in America was entitled to “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. ” This statement was meant to fuel the American dream. The term the American Dream was invented in 1931, by a historian named James Truslow Adams. In his book “The Epic of America,” he described the American dream as, “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. ” As these ideas began to spread, the idea that America is such a great place began to spread also. The idea of the American dream became more and more popular appearing in newspaper articles and books. In the 1800’s it even became a reference for immigrants who came to the U. S. in search of a better life, good paying job, and a nice homes that could live in and raise thier families. Based on this idea, the American dream for many would be perceived as a great thing but in fact for some would be just a dream.
This idea of the american dream would be one of many to give a false perception of America. The ideal of the American dream is that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative, would prove to be false due to things like racial inequality, which has plagued americans for centuries. For example people like Dr Martin Luther King fought for civil rights and equality in america through the mid 1950s. This supposedly representing the time of the existing american dream, but things like racial segregation in america between whites and african americans would prove that equality in america was just another false perception fueled by the american dream. Another false perception of the dream was that if you worked hard enough you could achieve success but in fact “The idea that anybody can make it in the US if they work hard enough has been a bedrock of American life since the country’s birth. At one time, this might have been more true than today and because historical data is difficult to obtain, researchers are unsure of whether economic mobility has decreased in the US, but it likely has. Inequality and economic mobility are highly correlated, and inequality has been on the rise in the US for the last half century. If it’s true that mobility has decreased, awareness has not caught up to reality” (Quartz). Like women who hold the same position as a man and work just as hard but get paid less. Even thou women earn the majority of college degrees the wage gap still exist.
For example “The American Association of University Women, or AAUW, found that one year out of college, women were paid just 82 percent of what their similarly educated and experienced male peers were paid. The AAUW found that the gap widens over time: 10 years after graduating from college, women were paid only 69 percent of what their male counterparts were paid. Women earn just 79 cents for every dollar made by men” (americanprogress. org). Meaning that you can work hard but that does not mean you will succeed, as the american dream wants us to perceive. Even though some people in America can say that they have worked hard and achieved their dreams, many people in America cannot because of enquility and the fact that achieving your dream is not solely based on hardwork it also takes luck and opportunity. If americans stop believing in the false perceptions of the american dream and start following ideals set by people like Dr. King who dream was that people “will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. ” Then maybe we can achieve the american dream. Another thing we need to do is start believing in the more realistic ideologies of America. That not everyone can work hard and get rich in America but to just be satisfied with the idea that if you work hard you can achieve something. Just not total prosperity like the American dream wants to believe.
Also if we fix the racial, social, and economic inequalities that plague our nation even today then maybe we can attribute these fixes to making a new and improved American dream. The idea that is the american dream has been a statement with many different meanings throughout history. Most of which that include the perception of equality and ample opportunity for all men and women, in America. If we look deep into the lives of everyday Americans we can form the opinion that the idea of the American dream is false. Looking at this evidence it Proves that the American dream is just a false perception of America. So, until we start implementing the ideals of the so called American dream and changing public policy, there can be no real American dream. This only proving that the idea of the American dream that exists now is just a fictitious dream.
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