American Dream

The concept of the American Dream is based on the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence, and tells us that “All men are created equal . . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights . . . including . . . Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” As a result, America has always been considered an oasis of freedom for oppressed people from all over the world.

American Dream (Wikipedia)

The American Dream is the national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals including representative democracy, rights, liberty, and equality, in which freedom is interpreted as the opportunity for individual prosperity and success, as well as upward social mobility for oneself and their children, achieved through hard work in a capitalist society with few barriers.

During the mid-19th to the early 20th-century of the United States, for many immigrants, the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) in New York Harbor was their first view of the country. In this role, it signified new opportunities for Americans and evolved into a symbol of the American Dream.

The term "American Dream" was coined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, saying that "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

Proponents of the American Dream often claim that its tenets originate from the United States Declaration of Independence, which states that "all men are created equal" with the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution is used similarly. It states that the Constitution's purpose is to, in part, "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity".

Throughout American history, there have been critics of its national ethos. Some critics point out that American focus on individualism and capital results in materialism, consumerism and a lack of worker solidarity. In 2015, only 10.5 percent of American workers were members of a labor union. The American Dream has also been criticized as a product of American exceptionalism, as it does not acknowledge the hardships many Americans face, namely in regards to the legacies of American slavery and Native American genocide, as well as other examples of discriminatory violence.

Belief in the American Dream is often inversely associated with rates of national disillusionment. Evidence indicates that upward economic mobility has declined and income inequality has risen in the United States in recent decades. In 2020, a poll found only 54 percent of US adults thought the American Dream was attainable for them, 28 percent believed it was unattainable for them personally, while 9 percent rejected the idea of the American Dream entirely. Younger generations were also less likely to believe in the American Dream than their older counterparts.