Throughout history, America has been known for its ability to provide freedom and opportunity. As a safe haven for people escaping religious persecution and people searching for a better life, the new world offered it all.
With the flight to the Land of Opportunity came the idea of the American Dream. James Truslow is often credited with this idea and wrote about it in 1931. Truslow published his book The Epic of America in which he addresses the idea of a better world, “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement … regardless of fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” But this idea, was not a new thing, the American Dream has been present since the founding of the new colonies in 1630. John Winthrop a english puritan Winthrop preached of a society in which everyone had an equal chance to thrive, as long as they all worked together during his famous sermon known as the “city upon a hill”. This sermon was held before the Puritan colonists left for Massachusetts and founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
As time changed so did that dream, in the colonists’ mind the American Dream evolved and turned into a god given right. The Founding Fathers applied this new thought in 1776 to the Declaration of Independence by including the famous phrase entitling all people with “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” In today’s society the American Dream has changed itself drastically from its origin.
People are no longer satisfied with owning land, a home or having a good life, rather they believe the American Dream is to own the biggest house, expensive cars and a lavish life. The reality today is that the Modern American Dream can only be achieved by a few. Due to this new definition many speculate that attaining the American Dream is close to impossible to the average citizen.