Defining the American Dream Essay

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Defining the American Dream Essay

The idea of the American Dream has been a fundamental part of the American culture and identity for decades. It is a concept of prosperity, success, and upward social mobility for anyone, regardless of your background or social status.

In this essay, we will explore and define the American Dream, its significance, and its evolution over time. Additionally, we will examine some of the popular interpretations and criticisms of the American Dream.

What is the American Dream?

The American Dream can be defined as the belief that anyone living in the US can achieve his or her vision of happiness and success through hard work, determination and dedication. It encompasses a wide range of desires and aspirations, including:

  • Owning a home
  • Starting a business
  • Receiving an education
  • Earning higher wages
  • Gaining financial stability and independence

The idea of the American Dream emerged from a time in America’s history when the country was going through political, social, and economic changes. Immigrants from every corner of the world were migrating to America in search of a better life, making America a land of opportunity where anything was possible.

The Evolution of the American Dream

The American Dream has evolved over time, reflecting changes in the political, social, and economic climate of the country. In the post-World War II era, the American Dream was largely tied to materialism, consumerism, and upward mobility. However, in the late 20th and early 21st century, the American Dream has become more about personal fulfillment, opportunity, and community.

Over time, the American Dream has also become increasingly scrutinized and criticized. Some see it as unattainable, while others see it as a myth propagated by the government and corporations to maintain the status quo.

Popular Interpretations and Criticisms of the American Dream

The American Dream has been interpreted and criticized in several ways. One interpretation states that the American Dream is nothing more than a pipe dream – an abstract concept that is unattainable in practice. According to this viewpoint, people are being led to believe that they can achieve prosperity and upward mobility regardless of their socioeconomic status or background. However, the reality is that many barriers prevent people from achieving their dreams, such as systemic racism, gender bias, and economic inequality.

Another interpretation of the American Dream states that it is solely focused on material success and consumerism. Critics of this interpretation argue that the true American Dream should be about self-fulfillment, opportunity, and community, rather than the accumulation of wealth and possessions.


The American Dream embodies the belief that anyone can achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and dedication. However, its meaning has evolved and been scrutinized over time. Despite the criticisms, the American Dream remains a vital part of American culture and identity, reflecting the country’s history, values, and aspirations.

What is your definition of the American Dream? Share your thoughts and comments below!

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Defining the American Dream Essay