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American Dream/Age of Reason
Transcript of American Dream/Age of Reason
Pursuit of Happiness
The Declaration of Independence
What defines happiness in our society?
The American Dream was coined by Historian and Writer, James Truslow Adams, in his 1931 book "The Epic of America."
He stated: "The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be
better and richer
and fuller for everyone, with
for each according to
ability or achievement.
It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a
dream of social order
in which each man and each woman shall
be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable
, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
The Origins of the American Dream
The ideas of the "American Dream" can first
be seen in the Declaration of Independence,
which states "all men are created equal"
and they are "endowed by their creator
with certain unalienable rights."
The American Dream and The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty has been a symbol
of the American Dream for many
immigrants through the years.
The statue has a poem by Emma Lazarus
which states: "Give me your tired, your poor/
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me/
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The American Dream of Today
The American Dream in Pop Culture
The "American Dream" is
still sought by many, if not
all members of society of
today. In politics, many
politicians use the idea of the
"American Dream" to gain
votes. Consumerism is seen
everywhere in society from
billboards to TV advertisements.
Many individuals seek higher
education for advancements in
the work place. We all try to seek
some type of "happiness," whether
that be through love, power, wealth
But... the "American Dream" also corrupts and destroys...
The American Dream gives us HOPE...
Reclaiming the American Dream
After watching Kevin Maggiacomo's talk on "Awakening the American Dream," identify the central argument of his talk. Summarize his argument, and explain whether you agree or disagree with his view of the American Dream. Make sure to bring in examples from his TED Talk, but you may also support with additional examples as well.
Within your quickwrite, also give your definition of the "American Dream." Do you feel that the definition of the "American Dream" has shifted from your parents' generation to your generation?
What about from the foundation of the
country until now? Support with
Age of Faith (1607-1750)
1. Historical Context
Puritans and Pilgrims
Separated from the Anglican Church of England
Religion dominated their lives and writing
Work ethic - believed in hard work and simple, no-frills living
Sermons, diaries, personal narratives
Instructive; plain style
3. Major Writers
Anne Bradstreet (first published American poet)
Edward Taylor (considered by many to be the finest Puritan poet)
Jonathan Edwards (minister; view of God as punitive/distant; view of man as basically evil)
Age of Reason
1. Historical Context
Growth of patriotism
Development of American character/democracy
Use of reason as opposed to faith alone
Political pamphlets, essays, speeches, documents
Instructive in values; highly ornate writing style
3. Major Writers
Abigail Adams (letter writing)
Thomas Paine (Pamphleteer; propaganda)
THE AGE OF REASON
"This institution [University of Virginia] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." ~ Benjamin Franklin
Principles of the Age of Reason
Humans can manage themselves without authority and traditions
Reason thrives on Freedom
Speech, experiment, inquiry
Writings focused on science or government, not religion
Franklin (methodical, systematic) & Jefferson (reasonable, logical)
Fought as much with pamphlets, essays, songs, speeches, and poems as with muskets
Propaganda, persuasion, and political writing dominated
America began to develop its own culture
1767 - 1st play professionally produced on an American stage
1773 - 1st volume of American composed music
1782 - 1st American museum opened in Philadelphia
1789 - The Power of Sympathy - 1st American Novel (novels were not well-received in England)
Primary Forms of Discourse
Persuasion - convince of opinion or action
Exposition - explain related facts
A Refresher on Persuasion
Means of Persuasion
Logos - logic Ethos - character Pathos - emotion
Symbol of success gained by hard work and common sense
"Autobiography" - Tells of his rise from "poverty and obscurity...to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world..."
"Poor Richard's Almanac" - aphorisms
Not perfect - some viewed him as someone only concerned with getting ahead
"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
~From Henry's Speech in VA Convention
Later elected governor of VA
Conservative political views (led fight against the Constitution claiming it gave fed. gov. too much power, and then led movement to add Bill of Rights)
Difference between Enlightenment thinkers and scientists?
Applied reason to the "human world" of government and law
Applied reason to the "natural world" using scientific method
** Didn't necessarily mean they rejected religion. Instead, they became "deists" who felt they could deduce the existence of a supreme being from the fact that the universe exists.
- Deists also thought that a harmonious universe proved the beneficence of God, as opposed to the Puritan "Fire and Brimstone" view.
Drafted the Declaration of Independence
Other political documents
Believed "the government which governs least, governs best"
Believed in strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution
Created the University of Virginia
The Aristotelian Appeals:
to the Constitution
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Examine the language of the Preamble. Identify diction that enforces the idea of the "American Dream."
"Reclaiming the American Dream"