The American Dream Webquest at the OS

The American Dream

Reality or just a dream?

Ever since the term "American Dream" was introduced by James Truslow Adams in the 1930s, it has probably been one of the most widely spread terms in the U.S. The definition of the American Dream is highly individual and most people have a different concept of it, but in general it can be defined as the freedom to reach one's goal and the ability to rise to fame and prosperity if one works hard enough for it. However, in a society of unemployment, immigration and poverty can the American Dream actually come true or will it always remain a dream?

In the course of the American history again and again people have tried to rise from "rags to riches," meaning they have tried to rise from extreme poverty to wealth. Most people failed, but there are still those who haven't and who will probably always be the role models for those that are still trying to reach their personal American Dream. They became for example famous film stars, rich businessmen, or successful politicians.

Whoopi GoldbergWhoopi Goldberg for example, an African American born in New York City, dropped out of high school and was alleged addicted to drugs. After the birth of her daughter she got divorced and went to California where she worked among other things as a bricklayer and bank teller. At the same time she joined several theatre groups and got her first Grammy with a Broadway show. Today Whoopi Goldberg is a well-known and popular actress and film star.

The Austrian Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger went to the U.S. at the age of 21 to become a successful bodybuilder. After he was titled Mr. Universe and held the record as Mr. Olympia he played in several action movies and became a successful film star. He also wrote columns for several bodybuilding magazines and focused on working as a businessman. In 2003 he was voted governor of California.Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger

Andrew CarnegieAndrew Carnegie, the son of an impoverished but self-educated and political weaver, emigrated with his parents and siblings to the U.S. in 1848 because of their work. Andrew first worked as a weaver himself, but later started his business career and founded Carnegie Steel Company which later became U.S. Steel, one of the most powerful and influential corporations in the USA.
These examples show that it is not impossible to rise from "a dishwasher to a millionaire." Nevertheless, those examples are not the rule and the vast majority of Americans or emigrants trying to find their American dream in the United States will not succeed.

In spite of it, the American dream might still have its positive aspects. It could serve as an ideal for many people and keep them from giving up hope of reaching their personal goal and the examples of those who were able to achieve it are encouraging to others who are still trying to.

Johanna Schumacher