Definition: The American Dream is a national philosophy of the United States. It is a set of principles in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social movement achieved through one’s hard work. In James Truslow Adams’s definition of the American Dream in 1931 he states, “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.”
The awareness of the American Dream is entrenched in the United States Declaration of Independence where it declares that “all men are created equal” and that they are given certain inalienable rights by God. These inalienable rights include, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Lie: The American Dream is still going strong till this day. It is the opportunity to make individual decisions without previous confines that limit people according to their class, caste, religion, race, or background.
Millions of immigrants head to the United States each year, several illegal immigrants. They come over with false thoughts and hopes of being given a fair shot at the “American Dream.” Many are devastated once they reach America as they realize that it is not what is seems. Most Mexicans get the jobs others would rather not do, the dirty work. These people wait on corners to get picked up day after day and get paid minimal for the hours of intensive labor they put in because it is “off the books.” Another factor working against them is even when they come to America to work and make a living; more and more Americans complain that the cards are stacked against the middle class because of these immigrants.
Many Americans are afraid that the essence of the American Dream, the belief that, as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice often puts it, in America “it doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you’re going,” is becoming less and less true.
Over the last two decades, the middle class of America has been dug out, with having an affluent, well-educated class rising on one side and a poor and working-class majority on the other; they are faced with minimal opportunities to change their situations.
Is America Still the land of Opportunity?
“According to a new poll from Gallup, only 52% of Americans now say the country has plenty of economic opportunity, down from 57% in 2011 and a dramatic decrease from 81% in 1998.”
In addition, a growing amount of Americans believe the U.S. economic system is “unfair” as fewer Americans see the United States as the having “plenty of opportunity” to get ahead; an attitude much different than in the past.
“Many political leaders and other observers believe economic mobility in the United States is declining,” Gallup researchers say.
The United States has prided itself for allowing economic movement for decades. The slogan, “Rags to Riches,” have long been joint and cherished. However, growing income inequality and high unemployment rates have called into question that assurance in economic opportunity.