American Dream Essays (Examples)

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american dream

What is the American Dream?  Most Americans have asked themselves that very question at some point in their lives, and American Dream essays remain a favorite topic among professors in disciplines as varied as English, philosophy, religion, or sociology.  The American Dream is a recurrent topic in literature, whether featuring prominently in a story like The Great Gatsby or as a foil to the hero in a novel like Native Son.   Many American Dream essays are unabashedly hopeful and proud, detailing success stories of people who achieved prosperity by following that dream.  Other American Dream essays are more critical and discuss how access to the American Dream has historically been limited in the U.S.  Peruse our American Dream essay examples to see the various ways that different writers have tackled this very broad topic.  

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American Myths the Flag Is

Words: 1384 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 23422875

As Margaret Atwood points out, Americans have as much to be ashamed of as to be proud of.

When Barbara Kingsolver claims "The values we fought for and won there are best understood, I think, by oil companies," she refers to the way the American flag has been distorted. The issues the flag symbolizes, such as freedom and liberty, are myths for many people. As Kingsolver points out, the American flag has been used to justify many evils including wars like Vietnam and Iraq. Instead of delivering true freedom, liberty, and democracy, the American flag really brought economic dependence. Instead of associating the American flag with negativity, death, and intimidation, Kingsolver suggests that Americans reclaim it. The red stripes do not need to symbolize war. They can also symbolize "blood donated to the ed Cross."

The American flag is a flexible symbol that is often used in ways that manipulate…… [Read More]

References

Atwood, Margaret. "A Letter to America." Published on Friday, April 4, 2003 by the International Herald Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2008 at http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0404-07.htm

Kingsolver, Barbara. "And Our Flag Was Still There." Published on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 in the San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 29, 2008 from Common Dreams at http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0925-08.htm

Streufert, Duane. "Evolution of the United States Flag." Evolution of the United States Flag. Retrieved July 29, 2008 at  http://www.usflag.org/history/flagevolution.html
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American & God's Dream the

Words: 2814 Length: 9 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 23912517

Marx's interpretation of Twentieth-Century Capitalism, as described by Miller, describes the changes in the American dream. The American dream was initially one linked to the idea of land ownership. Immigrants came from Europe, where land ownership had been a privilege of the wealthy. However, when America was relatively unsettled, almost anyone could theoretically come to America and claim land, and many people did just that. Of course, some of these early Americans did so in a grand way, traveling westward from the cities and establishing homesteads in the wilderness. The idea of home ownership, however, was not limited to those frontiersmen. Instead, only 100 years ago, someone could come to America and, because of the cheap price of land, afford to build his own home if he worked hard enough to do so. However, the nature of the home, itself, was different. Those homes were centers of production: at the…… [Read More]

Works Cited

Medaille, John. The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace. New York:

Continuum International Publishing Group, 2007

Miller, Vincent Jude. Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture.

New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004.
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American Society American Decline An

Words: 791 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 79259244



Where Problems Begin

The emphasis on funding and innovation that drove the advance of the American economy throughout much of the twentieth century was without a doubt a major part of the nation's success (Lemoncik 2006). This is not where today's issues of the internal crumbling of American society has its origins, however, and in fact the facade of great wealth, opportunity, and success that the United States still puts forward as the "American Dream" is a direct lie in many areas. n order to find the roots of the problem, one must look to earlier developments and trends in society and in the manner in which the government codifies this society.

t is the failure of the educational system and a lack of support for the middle and lower classes in terms of social justice and ensuring equal access to the power structures and opportunities in the nation that…… [Read More]

It is the failure of the educational system and a lack of support for the middle and lower classes in terms of social justice and ensuring equal access to the power structures and opportunities in the nation that is truly responsible for the degradation of American society. There are numerous indicators that such things as equality, liberty, and true opportunities for self-direction are no longer of great importance to the political regime in this country or even to society at large, and that rather a power structure that quite explicitly and directly serves the interests of the rich and already-powerful has been put into place (Herbert 2005). When the system fails to support the emergence of new ways of thinking from diverse corners of society, and instead rewards only those that take full part in the current system with values and beliefs as currently defined, innovation stagnates and the values of what was once a great democracy become little more than relics of a capitalist regime.

Conclusion

The internal crumbling of society occurring in the United States is the result of a lack of support for continuing innovation and education in the sciences and technological fields, which has been accomplished by a degradation of traditional American values. While it is true that the United States retains a strong position and a positive outlook on the short-term future, the fact that science and technology professional are leaving the country in droves is a poor indicator for long-term success. Without attention to the rebuilding of ore values, this country is destined for ruin.
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American National Character History

Words: 3902 Length: 10 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 52485827

American National Character (history)

The Ongoing Search for an "American National Character"

This assignment asks the following pertinent and challenging questions: Is it possible to find trends amongst so much diversity? What characteristics are distinctly American, regardless of class, race, and background? What is problematic about making these generalizations and inheriting the culture? What have we inherited exactly? What problems arise with our ideals - and are we being honest with ourselves? Discuss individualism and the "American Dream." Are these goals realized and are they realistic? This paper seeks solid answers to these often elusive questions.

The search for a national character should be never-ending, and the pivotal part of the search that should be enlightening and enriching for the seeker of that knowledge may just be the inspiration from the books and authors springing into the seeker's mind along the way to discovery.

Who is presently engaged in a…… [Read More]

References

Bellah, Robert. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life.

New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Cochran, Thomas Childs. Challenges to American Values: Society, Business, and Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973.
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American Economy 1950s Consumer Culture

Words: 1521 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 925899

Thus, a couple -- Tom and Betsy ath -- are stuck in the middle trying to find real meaning in it. Living in suburban Connecticut, their three children are addicted to TV and show no real interest in the life around them. Tom is the epitome of the discontented businessman, who is forced to work to pay for the new middle class suburban life. Despite his hard work, he finds it hard to pay for his life, a staunch contrast to the free living seen in the Seven-Year Itch. Betty's acceptance of Tom's affairs, which shows the passive and supportive role of the wife in the 1950s no matter what the husband is to do -- he is her life support, for she is a stay at home wife. In the end -- the money isn't worth the tension it causes at home. Thus, the film is a testament to…… [Read More]

References

Moffatt, Mike. (2009). The post-war economy:1945-1960. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved December 12, 2009 from http://economics.about.com/od/useconomichistory/a/post_war.htm

Simbajon, Carlo. (2009). Economic status of the United States in 1950. Economics. Retrieved December 12, 2009 from http://ezinearticles.com/?Economic-Status-of-the-United-States-in-1950&id=1565016
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American Investment Recovery Act Throughout American History

Words: 2438 Length: 8 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 98187978

American Investment ecovery Act

Throughout American history there has been an emphasis on maintaining a balance of power between different branches of government. This is from the belief that concentrating too much authority in one area will lead to inevitable abuses in others. To prevent this, the federal government and states have always practiced these basic principles. As a result, there are varying interpretations as to the overall scope of power given to particular branch. (McNeese, 2001)

In 2009, these issues were continually being brought to forefront with the American ecovery Act and einvestment Act of 2009. This law was designed to provide the economy with additional amounts of stimulus to address the lingering challenges from the financial crisis. However, the process of enacting this legislation, there were increased amounts of controversy surrounding the balance of power between the President and Congress. This is because the Democrats had an overwhelming…… [Read More]

References

The American Investment and Recovery Act. (2009). Fiscal Accountability. Retrieved from: http://www.fiscalaccountability.org/index.php?content=cog09-13#

The American Investment and Recovery Act. (2009). GPO. Retrieved from: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr1enr/pdf/BILLS-111hr1enr.pdf

Estimated Impact of American Investment and Recovery Act. (2012). CBO. Retrieved from:  http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/05-25-Impact_of_ARRA.pdf 

Wickard v. Filburn. (2012). Case Briefs. Retrieved from:  http://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/constitutional-law/constitutional-law-keyed-to-stone/the-powers-of-congress/wickard-v-filburn-2/
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American Cities Just as American

Words: 1368 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 413236

The development of the American automobile industry is one of the best examples of this interplay: "Unlike European manufacturers, who concentrated on expensive motorcars for the rich, American entrepreneurs early turned to economical vehicles that could be mass-produced," (Jackson 159). The fact that so many Americans then became capable of purchasing a car both fed the notion of the American dream, and also served to expand American cities and suburbs; people who could afford to commute were not forced to live in the stifling and often impoverished inner-city. This trend tended to make inner cities in America decreasingly desirable places to live. Yet, in places like New York, with the creation of central park, wealthy neighborhoods came to crowd around such desirable locations and push the impoverished sects of society away: "By the time the park's founding generation passed away, the political, aesthetic, and cultural unity they valued had already…… [Read More]

References

Cronon, William. 1991. Nature's metropolis: Chicago and the great West. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

Kenneth M. Jackson. 1985. Crabgrass Frontier: The suburbanization of the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rosenzweig, Roy and Elizabeth Blackmar. 1992. The park and the people: A history of Central Park. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
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American Modernism and the Endemic Themes

Words: 1636 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 21908862

American Modernism and the Edenic Themes

Langston Hughes and Jay Gatsby: Different Strokes for Different Folks in the Search for an Edenic orld

The search for Eden has always had an eternal quality since the development of primordial man. At times, this search has manifested itself as a quest for a promised land full of natural resources, while at others, it has taken the form of a journey seeking social acceptance and harmony. Either which way, man's search for Eden has always been motivated by a desire to secure material and emotional well-being. Though this search is not unique to the people of America, the promise held out by a vast, virgin continent and new beginnings led to the belief that a life in the pursuit of wealth and happiness was possible here. This great 'American Dream,' however, soon proved as susceptible to human greed, bigotry, and the struggle for…… [Read More]

Works Cited

Baldwin, J. et.al. "The Eternal Adam and the New World Garden: The Central Myth in the American Novel since 1830." New York: Braziller, 1968.

Daly, P.E.M. & Mayhew, P.H. "Envisioning the New Adam: Empathic Portraits of Men by American Women Writers." Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997.

Dickinson, D.C. "A Bio-Bibliography of Langston Hughes, 1902-1967." Hamden, Conn:

Archon Books, 1967.
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American Beauty in Regard to

Words: 1263 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 88742350

Every individual in the Burnham family amassed frustrations across time and could no longer regard other members of the family as the persons that they once loved and who once seemed perfect for them. It is as if the film wants viewers to understand that time is unforgiving with individuals who are unwilling to get actively engaged in improving their emotional lives. The American Dream is not just about material fulfillment, as it also needs to be supported by positive sentiments and love. Sex is definitely one of the principal reasons for which the Burnhams' marriage does not work. This influences Lester in employing a completely ignorant attitude in regard to his wife's sex appeal. It is very probable that he perceives Angela to be similar to Carolyn when she was younger. Carolyn's position toward Lester is quite similar, given that she does not feel offended when she realizes that…… [Read More]

Works cited:

Dir. Sam Mendes. American Beauty. Dreamworks Pictures.