The notion of the 'American Dream' as the concept appears in various works of the early 20th century American authors.

Essay by zsuzsamercedesUniversity, Bachelor's June 2007

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The notion of the American DreamThe term, although often referred to and used, lacks precise definition. On the basis of J. T. Adams in the Epic of America, (1931) it is expressed as „the dream of a land in which life should be better, richer, and fuller for every man with opportunities for each according to his abilities and achievement.” A kind of Wonderland,where everything may come true – you only have to believe in it, work hard and your merits will be rewarded.

OriginsThis image has both historical and economical roots. Among the subsequent flows of immigrants we can find the characters of the „American family Saga” – the grandparents who came from the „Old World” to exploit a new opportunity and in order to make their dreams come true, worked and suffered hard in order to support their children who – as the second generation - cherished the same old desires, shared the same motivation to create a better future.

Their figure provides part of the origins of the American Dream. Another historical component is the fact, that „the Americans have regarded their country as a land of limitless wealth” and spread that image very quickly.

As far as economic sources are concerned, these are in close connection with that huge abundance of resources I have already mentioned, as well as with the period called the „Roaring Twenties” and the Jazz Age – which, right after the first World War, were characterised by fast economic growth, booming industry – which made many people very wealthy very soon – and the accessibility of credit. The new emphasis was on buying, rather than saving, like in the times of the War. This was the period of fun, games and free love – the era of new beginnings. (Later, in 1929,