Every nation proclaims its own idea of happiness and well-being. America, of course, is not an exception. The soul of American nation lies in the concept of the so-called ‘American dream’. Though being extremely popular and well-known all over the world, the term ‘American dream’ is very difficult to define. Still, lots of American citizens since their teenage try to make this dream come true. It seems that American Dream is a sense of life for everyone there.
To start with, the term ‘American dream’ is used in order to describe the life values of Americans, either in material, or in moral sense. According to Safire’s New Political Dictionary, “The American System is considered the skeleton and the American Dream the soul of the American body politic” (Safire 17). The American Dream presupposes that through hard work, determination, and courage any American citizen is able to achieve success in life and realize their inner potential. From the historical point of view, it was James Truslow Adams, who coined the term in his book The Epics of America in the times of the Great Depression. Besides, the Declaration of Independence is known to be one more source of the American Dream, for it says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (National Archives and Records Administration).
Thus, the American Dream is considered to have appeared in the early days of American settlement and is associated with the immigrants that began to come to America in search of better life. It must be noted, that it is the duty of every American President to include the concept to their political promises, for it brings hope to the nation. Nevertheless, the American Dream has undergone close scrutiny and has been much criticized. Moreover, the question arises, whether the American Dream is dead or not.
The stereotype of American Dream presupposes avoiding poverty and looking for prosperity in all aspects of life, especially in financial issues. The essence of this ideal is rather optimistic, but it is naive and not always true to life. The adherents of American Dream say that it suggests seeking for obtaining a better way of life than the previous generations had. Still, numerous social problems and financial predicaments of particular strata of society put the idea of American Dream under question. For instance, it is impossible to claim that the States have achieved their national dream, for there are still problems with racial, religious, gender, and national origin discrimination.
It goes without saying that historically American Dream has brought many people to the USA in a search of better life quality. Undoubtedly, America has achieved much in economical development of the country, and the life standards there are much higher than in many other countries of the world. Besides, the Industrial Revolution has contributed much to the development of American Dream. Americans are considered to be the most protected nation and the USA is one of the first countries to help the needy. Despite it, the problem of social inequality and social mobility is present in the USA. In addition, there are the most controversial questions that put American Dream under the great criticism. For instance, the American Dream aims at obtaining a better level of life. That is why a high-paid job is a very important component for Americans. Nevertheless, not all the citizens have an opportunity to have proper education that would allow them to find a god job. Then, the issue of automobile ownership is rather crucial, for it is difficult to lead an active way of life without having a car. Still, there are people who do not have a car, or cannot drive. Thus, they are subconsciously discriminated by the society.
If to take into consideration the global economy and global crisis, it is evident that the American Dream does not coincide with reality. What is more, there is no perfect nation or society in the world. No society is capable of having one hundred percent of prosperity, liberty, equality and success. Consequently, the American Dream has a tendency of becoming untrue. Until slums and poor districts exist, the American Dream cannot be justified in full.
Still, does it mean that the American Dream is dead? On the one hand, it is really dead, for there are few chances for economical improvement. On the other hand, it depends upon the way it is interpreted. For example, Thomas Wolfe says in his book (1998) that a golden opportunity to every person is life itself. Nothing is better than the right to live, find pleasure in work and be oneself. Everyone can become anyone depending on what they want and how the environment can shape them (Wolfe 1998). If to consider the American Dream as a desire to be happy and content with life, then it can be realized even despite financial prosperity.
In conclusion, Steve Forbes, an American politician, considered the essence of American Dream in recognizing that life and Earth given for life is the most expensive gift for humans. Therefore, everyone should appreciate the highest purpose of life that consists in developing in full of everything that God gave to people (2014). Until the American nation realizes its purpose and destination, its dream has the right to exist. The American Dream will stay alive until the nation’s potential is properly put into action and developed. Despite national stratification and all the social problems the nation faces, its dream will continue to live in peoples’ hearts and bring hope to those who believe in the future. Of course, there are many problems with the process of implementing the American Dream into life, but until people hope, it will stay alive. Thus, the American Dream is supposed to be alive as long as the nation will be able to dream and seek for happiness.