American Dream By: Tan Ly

Essay by viethelldragonHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

download word file, 6 pages 4.2

The American Dream was the philosophy that brought people to America and to start a new life in a strange, foreign land. Due to this dream, it was believed that America was the land of opportunity, wealth, and prosperity. The dream consists of three components: all men are equal, man can trust and should help his fellow man, and the good, virtuous and hard working are rewarded. The ideal of the American Dream is based on the fantasy that an individual can achieve success regardless of family history, race, or religion simply by working hard enough. Frequently, success is ranked by the fortune that the independent individual can achieve.

When the Puritans set sail for America to escape the corruption of the Church of England, their dream was to have the ability to express themselves through religious freedom. In addition, their dream was to create an overly select society with the main cause being humble with God.

John Winthrop continually points out that the migration of America is based on an agreement with God. He states that, "we are entered into a Covenant with Him for his work." There is no ambiguity as Winthrop sees his dream of a glorious destiny in which God has selected for him. This was the common sentiment among the general population at this time. Winthrop further proposes that the American dream for New England to be an example to all the world of an ideal commonwealth when men act in accordance with will of God. Winthrop wanted to build "a city upon a hill." This magic metaphor exemplified Puritanical thought of a steady progression to perfection through religion.

Nearing the 19th century, politics played an imperative role in determining the American dream. Thomas Jefferson eloquently stated that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...