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Giovanni Gonzales
Professor Intawiwat
UWRT 1102-008
December 2015
The American Dream

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 (US History, 1995, para. 2). This is one of the most quotable parts of
our Declaration in the second paragraph because it essentially means that we Americans have the
right and freedom to do as we wish. The founding fathers of our nation believed that in satisfying
the Declaration, an American Dream for everyone could be attained. No other country in the
world will give an individual the variety of opportunity to achieve their goals and dreams as
freely as America. People want to have the privilege to work towards their goals and the
American Dream gives everyone the opportunity to do just that. In the past decade, people seem
to argue that the American Dream has faded into an incredibly materialistic way of life, but I still
believe that the dream is strong and very attainable to every individual.
Initially, the foundation of the nation was formulated with the idea of achieving the
American Dream by creating laws, rights, and legislations to help smoothly run America. What
even is the American Dream? Well, I asked some students here at the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte what they thought the American Dream is, and their answers were all over
the place. The most heard result from the majority of all people was the typical overload of
money, fast cars, beautiful women, big houses, and an abundance of fun. I was not bias with my
questioning, for I asked people of all races and within the college age group to gather all of my

research. What I was surprised to find is that there was still a fair amount of people in the days
worth of questioning who said that having their own successful business and healthy family
would be their idea of the American Dream. After analyzing the results, I can come to the
conclusion that the answer to this question will vary depending on what the individual desires in
his or her life. The American Dream is simply going to be distinctive to every person.
Some say, that the American Dream has become the pursuit of material prosperity that
people work more hours to get bigger cars, fancier homes, the fruits of prosperity for their
families but have less time to enjoy their prosperity. Others say that the American Dream is
beyond the grasp of the working poor who must work two jobs to insure their familys survival
(Weddle,Peter). Not everybody is going to picture their American dream the same but in this
case, there simply cannot be one definite American Dream. There just has to be several
different American Dreams in order to meet the needs of everyone (Library of Congress, 2013).
The freedom to choose and the freedom of opportunity to better yourself is what the American
Dream is about. When there are opportunities, one must know he or she has the right, privilege,
and also responsibility of taking advantage of those opportunities.
Thomas Edison, the brilliant inventor of the light bulb, motion picture camera, and the
phonograph, once said that Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in
overalls and looks like work (Secret Entourage, n. d., para. 5). Edison essentially means that
most people dont like taking opportunities at achieving their dreams because they require hours
upon hours of hard work and dedication. It really is no secret that working hard is the most
essential key to attaining anything in life, better yet the American Dream. If one doesnt want to
put forth the effort, then what dream are they chasing? In his book The Epic of America, James
Truslow Adams defined the American Dream as That dream of a land in which life should be

better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or
achievement It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social
order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which
they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the
fortuitous circumstances of birth or position (Library of congress, 2013). When James Adams
says shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, he really
means that people should take complete advantage of every opportunity presented to them in
order to achieve the American Dream. It almost seems as if Adams knew that the future America
might lose sight of what really matters in life, versus the material gains.
In the year 1849, the discovery of an abundance of gold in California attracted thousands
of people looking for their overnight fortune, and some people sure did find it (H.W. Brands, The
age of gold). This was the point in time where the people of America started to get the idea in
their minds that they can somehow always find a way to make effortless money. In the year
1947, the first Levitt houses were built with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, living
room, and a loft attic, and no garages or basements. These homes were built by William J Levitt,
a member of the U.S. Navy who built airfields for planes as quickly as possible. Levitt owned a
thousand acres of potato fields in Hempstead, New York. Once he got back from the war, he had
a vision to create homes for all of the returning G.I.s who needed homes, so then went up the
first Levittown. Each home was about $8000, which was pretty affordable, especially for
returning veterans due to the G.I. Bill allowing them low-interest loans with no money down on
a house. It was at this time that Levitt played a crucial role in making home ownership a new
tenet of the American Dream, especially as he expanded his operation to other states (Kamp,
David. Rethinking the American Dream). Even a year before that in 1946, Frank Capra, a

Hollywood filmmaker, had a grand opening for his own suburban development, called Bailey
Park. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, because that means that Americans are being
innovative and attempting to act on opportunities.
The great Martin Luther King Jr. said in the Commencement Address, We hold these
truths to be self-evident- that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This is the dream. Even MLK preached and preached to the people about how our founding
fathers had a dream for America. He spoke of how the people, no matter the race or color of skin,
has the right and freedom to come together and try to achieve the American Dream together.
The American Dream is unique for every individual. If everybody in America aimed to
achieve the same things, then America would not be America. What I mean by this is that if
somebody desires to spend their life caregiving and giving back to communities and giving
money away, they would be going against the now stereotypical American Dream of achieving
wealth and material things. The American dream is as simple as achieving what you love to do
while being the productive figure one needs to be in life. It is something that does not have to
stay set in stone. It can take years or seconds to achieve and change in an instant. Maybe you
dont have an American Dream and you just want to chill and live live low key. That would still
be considered someones American Dream.
The idea of having an American Dream makes this country unique. The idea of having
millions of minds coming together and forming modern America is such an astonishing
realization to come to. There are no constraints to what one may dream in America. The
American Dream is not dead, but a flourishing lucid dream. What formed America and what will

continue to form America are the ever changing American Dreams that its citizens have the
freedom to attain.