American Dream referat

American Dream

The American Dream

The American Dream evolved out of the hope for freedom, independence and
wealth. It represents a combination new and old values and virtues, the
settlers brought with them to the new continent. Led by hope, they started
by without anything, forming and shaping one of the most advanced countries
in the world.
The historical context is the most important factor to understand the
self-esteem of an American and their American Dream. In 1620, the first
Pilgrim Fathers arrived in America. In the 17th century, the American Dream
started becoming something certain when white settlers came to America in
order to escape religious or political persecution, or just in order to make
use of economical advantages. Britain raised taxes from their colonies,
financing their other colonial wars by these. The American colonies denied
any higher tax payment, resulting in the War of Independence. George
Washington was chosen leader of the former British colonies in struggle for
independence, because he had already proven being successful when he
defeated the French in 1763. After three years of war, the representatives
of 13 states came together and signed the Declaration of Independence on
July 4th, 1776. Six years later, George Washington became the first
President of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence
was the first official document stating freedom and independence for the
U.S.A., which was on of the few countries with a democratic government at
that time, even though only men were granted the named civil liberty rights.
  In 1886, France donated the Statue of Liberty to the U.S.A., which was
also built there in order to show the two nations' commitment to liberty.
Immigrants were welcomed by a part of the inscription of the statue, which

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore.
Send these, homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
            Emma Lazarus, 1883

This inscription supported the message of the Statue of Liberty. Immigrants
dreamed of coming to America without anything and achieving whatever their
aim is. America became the country of unlimited opportunities.
After civil war, slavery was abolished and the 14th amendment, which was
added to the Constitution, making them citizens in 1868. They were able to
vote, although most of them didn't, because of their white owners pressuring
them not to.  In 1920, the 19th Amendment was became law, which provided
that 'The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied
or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.', which
means that all U.S. women were allowed to vote.  Fighting against racial
discrimination, Martin Luther King led the March on Washington 1963, where
he held his famous 'I have a dream' speech. As a result of the Civil Rights
Movement, discriminating laws were changed and blacks were allowed to vote
without oppression.  One of the first men that ever defined the term
“American Dream” was James
Truslow Adams. During the Great Depression, which
was an economic crisis that lasted about 10 years, a voluminous study was
published, which delivered the American dream as it is known today. The
excerpt of the book 'The Epic of America' written by J.T. Adams mainly deals
with the social part of the American dream, which states that every man or
woman, regardless of their background and circumstances, can achieve or
become whatever their aim is, if they are willing to work for it without
being selfish, because the American dream also means that everybody should
live life to the fullest. Working as a group is also essential for
democracy.  Politically seen, America is a democratic country, where basic
human rights are ensured through the first article of the Bill of Rights,
which says that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'
America is also attracting immigrants because of its multiple diversity.
People with many different origins shall be able to live together
peacefully, and are treated equally, standing united as one country. In
addition to the freedom America provides, immigrants long for
materialistic achievements, such as a home, a car and other things that
comfort someone’s life. Besides that people strive for personal success,
especially for economical independence, they also try to set their mind to
new standards. All in all, one can say that there is no universal definition
for the American Dream, but the general attitude towards the American dream
is, that people want to go to America in order to enjoy political and
religious freedom as well as economical independence and equality and the
possibility to make ones’ personal dream come true regardless of difficult
circumstances or backgrounds. However, the American Dream is supposed to be
individually different to everybody.

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