08.05.2018Contact the author
The American dream is more than a lot of money, an expensive car and a big house on the outskirts. For the most part, the American dream is the main ideology of the American society. It is often associated with the ethics of Protestants, which speaks of honest and dedicated work for achievement of personal goals, including glory, wealth, recognition. According to one definition, the American dream is a belief in freedom from prejudices (racial, class, religious) society, in success of a person, depending on his personal qualities and work.
The basis of the American dream is the principle of individual freedom. It was for freedom that the Europeans traveled to new colonies, driven from their homeland by religious intolerance, cliquishness of the old Europe, desire for personal happiness. The absence of an official religion in the United States, centuries-old traditions, unwritten rules and laws ensured new-arrived residents with freedom of expression.
The term "American Dream" received its first definition in the writings of James Adams in the book "Epos of America" during the Great Depression. Adams even wanted to call the book "The American Dream", but the publisher opposed it. In the book, the historian describes a dream as a desire for a rich and fulfilling life on earth, accessible to everybody, as equal opportunities for everyone, including recognition. In times of severe economic recession, the American dream of James Adams was a sip of optimism for Americans.
The theme of the American dream is being actively used by politicians during their election campaigns. In particular, almost all the American presidents one way or another promised their voters the earliest possible achievement of the American dream.
American writers could not ignore such a national phenomenon as the American dream. It was used by Mark Twain in his works (“The American Claimant”) and by Theodore Dreiser (“American Tragedy”), Francis Fitzgerald (“The Great Gatsby”), William Faulkner, Thomas Hunter (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”), Winston Grumm ("Forrest Gump") and others. The cinematograph did not lag behind, too: screening of many works also showed the concepts and principles of the American dream in different forms to a wide audience.
At present, the American dream continues to live in the minds of Americans. It has acquired new features and principles, such as a strong family, mandatory presence of several children, own house, friendly neighbors. At the same time there is practically no cult of accumulation. Many American millionaires who earned their fortunes by their own intelligence and labor, who have reached the American dream, do not differ much from ordinary Americans. They wear simple clothes, ride on ordinary (in the American concept) cars, living in average housing of average status.