The American "Dream"

Essay by raouldukerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.5 1 reviews

The popular belief in the American Dream is more than a red herring fallacy used to win political debates. It is a clever tool used to lure the penniless, foreign, and otherwise subordinate peoples into having faith in a life of wage slavery. The American Dream is a strange concept, bringing to mind visions of painted goddesses with large books holding telegraph wires. It is felt in the stirrings of gullible American's hearts during the National Anthem. It is the idea that anyone- regardless of race, class, or gender- is created equal in the eyes of God and capable of success through hard work. While equality is a common perception in America, it is not a reality in a country where it is common for people of color to receive none of the credit when they succeed (Sklar).

Horatio Alger, an American writer from the 1800s, wrote popular "rags to riches" stories.

"Strive to succeed" was a motto of his and he preached that through perseverance and hard work alone, anyone could succeed. Alger grew up poor, but rose to the top with his writing. In essence, his autobiographical stories inspired widespread faith in the American Dream ("Horatio" 1-2). Horatio Alger was the American Dream to a post-Civil War America.

Upon taking a sheer glance at current economic figures in the nation, one can see that life in America has not held true to Alger's idealistic dream. Not possibly in a country where "the typical non-Hispanic white household has seven times the net worth of the typical household of color" could all citizens have equal opportunities (Sklar). Just like most statistics, there are some exceptions to the rule--just as there are some female CEO's of color (< 2%) (Sklar); and some college professors of color (< 5%) (Marable). These...