Tuesday, January 30, 2007
On the American Dream
On the American Dream: And hence, I ponder, what is meant by the American Dream? Is it more of an ideal or a reality? For most Americans, the Dream contains a threefold purpose relating to economics, politics, and society. With economics, Americans wish to attain a level of comfort through financial stability. In many ways, the economic side of the Dream embodies the notion of what it means to be an American, and thus, it serves as the most important element. This claim can be made because without financial stability, the political and social meanings of the Dream become less pertinent. No man is going to think about abstract concepts like equality and liberty unless he first has food in his belly and a roof over his head. And therefore, economics remains the most fundamental interest of all Americans aspiring to capture a little piece of the Dream. Jefferson first constituted the Dream in the Declaration of Independence. Yet when one considers the 'peculiar' institution of slavery and its lingering vestiges (Jim Crow), the Dream loses its potency. It would take the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. to reconstitute the Dream for both the 19th and 20th centuries respectively.