As a first-generation American and the daughter of immigrants, the American Dream was something I learned about early in life. Growing up, I adopted the same definition of the American Dream that had marked America for decades — since the 1950s, to be exact.
Post World War II is often described as one of the most prosperous times in American history. The economy was booming, and Americans looked to a financially stable future ahead of them. Home ownership and the picture-perfect lifestyle were our nation’s pride and joy, soon becoming the identity of the American Dream. During this era, assembly-line jobs were booming, and suburban communities started to define the American Dream.
Global economic conditions have changed since the 1950s, and although America remains the most powerful nation in the world, we look to our Founding Fathers and our nation’s roots for the reframing of the American Dream.
For most of us, this ideology of the American Dream has instilled a drive within us to help us reach goals, build generational wealth, and look to a better future than the one handed down to us by our parents. In recent studies, millennials rank pursuing their passions much higher as part of the American Dream than older generations. As a result of Postwar America, our country offers more opportunities than it ever has, allowing its citizens to pursue the life they want — defined not just by the accumulation of material wealth but instead by what one creates and contributes.
Although the promise of prosperity and safety are central to the American Dream, its resurgence promises a focus beyond materialistic success.
Our Founding Fathers depicted the American Dream to promise freedom and equality, giving individuals the opportunity to pursue their vision of happiness. Although the promise of prosperity and safety are central to the American Dream, its resurgence promises a focus beyond materialistic success. It reassures a focus on inalienable rights, values, and opportunity alike.
The American Dream is more than a house with a white picket fence; instead, it is the ideal that as individuals we decide what we want to call home. The American Dream is defined by the diversity of our individual experiences. Together through shared values, we build lives and communities that continue to make our country the land of opportunity.