What is the American Dream?

Essay by A.R.DIAMONDUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2002

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What is the American Dream?

Ever since America has been explored and colonized, the conception of an ideolgical

dream has been at the forefront. America has continually provided an arena for those individuals

seeking economic, governmental, religious expansion and purification. Even though centuries

have passed, the fundemental priniciples that define the American dream have remained essentially

the same. Through history and American literature, one can derive a genuine understanding of

what actually is the American dream.

The concept of the American dream, obviously starts as European in nature. The Italian

explorer, Christopher Columbus and his voyage were the proverbial spark that bolstered the

concept of the American dream. Columbus set sail for a passage to the east by sailing west and

ended up in "the New World". His intention, to profit economically through spices,gold and

trade. Wealth is a constant motivating factor for future excursions to America, thus a major

proponent of achieving the American dream.

We see this theme recurring a few decades later

with Sir Walter Raleigh and the royal charters with joint-stock ventures of England.

Many of these bravado explorers and journeymen lended mythical aspects to the American

Dream. The dream of a plentiful, perfect society and viewing America as a paradise is clearly

evident in the writings of John Smith. Smith realized in order for these initial settlements to

flourish, more men were needed to populate, work and regenerate. In A Description of New

England and The General History of Virginia, Smith used imagination, persuasion and intense

glorification to lure men from England to incite expansion. Smith claims any man willing to work

can make a living as a fisherman. He also goes to great lengths to exhibit the abundance of land

and nature which illustrates the prospect of fertility within the new land. John...