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The American Dream

Course Introduction

ali b

on 13 August 2013

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Transcript of The American Dream




America believes in the concept of the self-made man
The idea that serious, earnest, hard-working people get ahead
One of the most important ideologies to American culture
One "side" of the dream offers all positivity
The dream offers 2nd chances - "Reinvention"
It says no matter what race, religion, sex - you have a chance
It is possible to go from "Rags to Riches"
This side of the Dream
"binds us together and propels us forward"
Individuals decide their own fate
Success is a matter of will, talent, discipline
American Dream is almost a "secular religion"
Franklin's aphorisms "A penny saved is a penny earned"
Almost like a catechism - a list of rules to follow
Not surprising in that the America Dream began with the search for religious freedom
This was to be the Land of Milk and Honey
The "other side" of the Dream offers limits, exclusions, disillusionment
Society erected barriers related to skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation
Hard work does NOT always equal success
Maybe it is all coincidence
2 Sides to the American Dream
And so how do we reconcile "reality" with "the Dream"?
Education (12 free yrs)/Good Job
Home Ownership
"Promise of AD"
consists of 6 tenets:
was all very noble once upon a time:
We sought religious freedom - a better life
We believed in hard work - opportunities
We wanted redemption - a 2nd chance
But then it took an ugly turn and became an expectation:
Me, Me, Me
Keeping up with the Jones'
$ $ $
3 Sides to American Dream
Personal Freedom
Financial Security
Familial/Romantic Love
Meritocratic Society vs. Caste System
Advancement based on individual ability/achievement
Inherited social status; no mobility
Full transcript