Is the American Dream still achievable?

Posted by Rosemarie P. New York
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Is it still possible to pursue a happy life with a stable job, a family, and wealth or success in life?

 “The American Dream is 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 a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. 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.” ― James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America. The American dream, to some families, might mean pursuing a happy life with a stable job, a family, and wealth or success in life. The American dream is made possible due to equal opportunity to all. To some people, this dream isn’t possible, it is just a dream. Although it’s not easy to achieve the American dream, with passion, hard work and dedication, it is very possible to achieve.

The American dream is the ideal that every us citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. The term was first used in 1932 by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America, but even before the 1930’s, the mindset of the American dream was active. The Declaration of Independence only extended the American dream to white property owners. After time, laws were added to extend these rights to women, non property owners, and slaves. In this way, the American Dream changed the course of America itself. In the 1920s, the American Dream started morphing from the right to create a better life to the desire to acquire material things. From that point, the American dream adapted throughout time, making the next generation better than the one before.

There are a lot of Americans that do not believe in the American dream, or believe that it became unachievable. These people lacking faith, believe that factors such as discrimination and unequal opportunities provide barriers to one's chance of reaching this "American dream". While others believe anything is possible with determination and overcoming obstacles. Some believe that coming from nothing and becoming insanely successful is only a myth, many have lived it, one of them is Oprah Winfrey, one of the richest women in the world. Winfrey was an orphan raised by her grandma with little money. She has overcome child abuse, rape, weight gain, depression, failed romance, and other hardships to attain her success. Oprah Winfrey symbolizes the individual who by such means rises above the torment to become one of the wealthiest and most recognized public figures in the world.

Far fewer Americans say “becoming wealthy” is essential to the American dream than say the same about personal freedom and a good family life. Overall, 36% of U.S. adults say their family has achieved the American dream, while another 46% say they are “on their way” to achieving it, according to an August survey by Pew Research Center. People who say they have already achieved the American dream are generally older, and better-educated than those who say they are on their way to achieving the American dream and those who say it’s out of reach.

Whites (41%) are more likely than blacks (17%) or Hispanics (32%) to say they have achieved the American dream. But more blacks (62%) and Hispanics (51%) than whites (42%) say they are on their way to achieving it. Notably, there are no significant racial or ethnic differences in the shares who say the American dream is out of reach for their families. Millennials are wrong about the American dream, it’s not dead. Though fate, chance, and luck have a lot to do with one's success, so does willpower, the control of one’s behavior. It is in one's hands to shape life, seize opportunities, get an education, resist failure, set goals and ultimately become somebody.

The American dream is a dream made possible due to equal opportunity to all. If kids once living in poverty and in slums can becomes lawyers or doctors, if an immigrant can become California's governor, if handicapped kids can play basketball, if ordinary people can become extraordinary people, then the American Dream is possible.  

Published on May 9, 2018
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