What Does the American Dream Mean to You? | Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D.
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What Does the American Dream Mean to You?

what does the american dream mean to you

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What does the American Dream mean to you? The notion of the American Dream, that every citizen of this country is free to create a life of prosperity and happiness, has been an iconic one that defines and memorializes what these United States suppose to embody. Like Apple Pie, the American Dream is such a part of our collective psyche and culture. Like Apple Pie, it is something we think we want whether we have had the opportunity to taste it, achieve it, or not?

What does the American Dream mean to you? Do you believe it is just an empty patriotic idea or something that is really attainable? Do you believe in those inalienable rights of, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” that are the foundation of that sacred document, the Declaration of Independence of the United States.

Historically, the notion of the American Dream is almost as old as America itself. It is part of and suppose to define the American experience almost with such weight and importance as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution. Being able to achieve the American Dream is the very embodiment of those sacred documents, in the the very promise of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

But, like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and U.S. Constitution, does the freedom or opportunity to achieve and live out the American Dream apply equally to everyone? What does the American Dream mean to you? Based on your experience in America to date, do you think you have an equal chance to achieve it, have achieved it, or will be able to?

Some define the American dream in terms of being able to get a good education, finding and growing in a good fulfilling job, owning a home in a good neighborhood, and for many finding the love of his or her life, settling down and having children. For others, finding and achieving the American Dream can be something different entirely.

what does the American Dream mean to you?

What Does the American Dream Mean to You? Photo Credit: NEFE.org

The American Dream simply means the freedom to pursue whatever endeavor one wishes and be successful at it, whether it is an accomplished artist or architect, baker or barber, clergyman or counselor, driver or dancer, educator or explorer, fireman or farmer, gardener or gymnast, whatever occupation or profession one can image from A to Z.

Irrespective of race, gender, age, or socioeconomic status, every citizen of these United States should have equal access and opportunity to pursue their American Dream. We are all entitled to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

In the current educational, economic, political, and social environments, do you think the iconic quest of the American Dream is realistic and achievable?

If so, what is your dream? What does the American Dream mean to you?

Feature Photo Credit: TV-Tropes.org

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What Does the American Dream Mean to You?
Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, author, has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website under the headings of "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" and "Above & Beyond Race." Subscribe to the email Newsletter and get updates on the trending topics.

17 Comments

  1. Maury Cheskes says:

    I think the American dream will stay iconic and people will continue to find prosperity in the States. That being said, I do think the Trump administration puts a damper on the American dream specifically for the Mexican community. Hopefully, the States will get a more egalitarian President for the next generations who want to succeed in America.

  2. mercy says:

    The America dream will be fulfilling where all citizens are free, have access to good education and health care, good jobs and also find happiness. A place free from violence.

  3. David Mureithi says:

    There is always that dream of “America being Great”. Which of course is great. Anyway, America has influence over many countries in the world and a positive dream will definitely mean a positive side for the others, especially the third world countries.

  4. Sindey Moreno says:

    I don’t live in the States but I have many friends who belong and were born there. Even I don’t live there I’m an admirer about some human cultures and I must tell that I admire the determination, patriotism, and strength from the North Americans. However, for me, it wasn’t clear the definition of the American dream. The concept we have in South America about the American dream is to have a life more comfortable, a stable job, a house and maybe get married. But then there are other people like me and some friends who don’t fit into that dream. My American dream is in Japan because I’m passionate about Fashion and they are doing something unique, The American dream of my friend Heidy took her to Berlin, and my cousin’s American dream was in Spain. I guess independent from the place we all look for our happiness. But I must tell that American culture was the first, at least for me, defining the concept and making possible to achieve it.

  5. Harpreet Singh says:

    Yeah, I believe the iconic quest of the American Dream is realistic and achievable and many are doing it well. There is equal opportunity for everyone in the USA to achieve their dreams and they can get the required help from the Government as well.

  6. Kuttan says:

    The American dream of this slogan has influenced not only US but all other parts of the world which were in the process of marching towards the achievement of individual freedom and prosperity.During all its process of different movements in US it was asked how much progress in equality ,equal opportunity to all,non discrimination ,individual freedom ,prosperity it could achieve.but this question is very relevant every where there is an effort for progress.

  7. Kathy says:

    I just think ‘American Dream’ is to enjoy the freedom. And, you can achieve your objective. It’s so wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Alvin Pascual says:

    Just like how technology progressed overtime, the notion of the “American Dream” had also evolved. For some, this might still be the old concep of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. But surely, this may no longer apply for others. Now, does this make the American Dream simply trivial and unimportant? I hope not. Whatever it is that people nowadays view about this dream, I seriously hope that their own version of the “American Dream” is still grounded on the basic precepts of what made America. The respect the basic human rights, and the respect for people in general. Come to think of it, it’s high time to improve this dream and call it the “Earth Dream”, and make it more universal for everyone.

  9. Arnel Sy says:

    The American Dream to a non-American could mean achieving something only dreams of. Many people from third world countries believes that a person becomes successful when they reach America. This has something to do of the prejudice that non-Americans have of Americans.

  10. Arnel Sy says:

    The American Dream to a non-American could mean achieving something only dreams of. Many people from third world countries believes that a person becomes successful when they reach America. This has something to do of the prejudice that non_Americans have of Americans.

  11. laige says:

    This article talks about different types of dreams for different types of people pertaining to “American Dream”. Anyone can achieve their dream despite of differences.

  12. Rae says:

    The American Dream is great but I think it depends on the person you are talking to. For me, it’s all great but maybe for others it might be too much. I’m ok with other people having different interpretation and definitions when it comes to this.

  13. Feddy says:

    America dream means diverse things to different person but for me is simply independence,being at liberty and finding inner happiness. I’m not yet there but it has been a jolly ride.

  14. AJ says:

    The American dream for me is a person who, regardless of race, color, faith, etc. has managed to make all his dreams come true in America. It is something really worth striving for, whatever kind of dream it is. For me, my American dream is to be accepted, trusted, and believed in to be the best that I can be in my current job and passion, giving due where I feel my worth, while not being bogged down by my being Asian.

  15. Scott Summers says:

    Being not from there makes me say I do not really know. However, I can relate to the intention behind it which is, To be able to have a good life for myself and to those that I love. Nothing is wrong with that.

  16. Vikram Parmar says:

    Any person has the right to pursue his dream irrespective of race, gender etc. The US is a liberal nation which gives rights to the people.

  17. Kari A. says:

    I think the ‘American Dream’ can mean a lot of different things too. It’s great how this article explores possible definitions that may apply to a variety of people. Maybe everyone has a different definition as to what it is, and that’s totally okay. Very interesting!

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