How has the American Dream changed over the past 100 years?
People use to work hard for the American Dream, now they want it handed to them!
Fantastic question! I'm thinking of my great grandfather. He escaped Kaiser Wilheim's Germany and came to L.A. He helped design the L.A. City Hall. For him, the dream was the freedom to speak without being put in prison.
For my grandfather, the dream was to save money and buy farms, so he could be independent.
For me, the dream was to escape from being told what to do and have a business of my own. Also, the dream was not to be shot for being Jewish, as happened to my cousin in Hungary when I was 10.
For my kids, the American dream is to be able to self-preoccupied without being ashamed of it. They said that's the new individualism--self-pre-occurpation. Forget everything and everybody else!
For my Mexican neighbors, the dream is to work hard and get rewarded so you can take care of your family and church.
For by dark skinned neighbors, the dream is to be called Americans without an hyphenated name-calling.
For billionaires, I guess the dream is to be free to run the whole show, even buy the presidency.
I believe the American Dream has changed in terms of the types of effort that must go into reaching the American Dream. People who rely on past paths to reaching the American Dream without acknowledging the modern changes, will encounter difficulty if not failure.
As a side note in full agreement with Peeples, I too have noticed a dramatic and annoying increase in the number of people who feel entitled to having whatever they choose without expending any effort for it.
The "American Dream" has been so many things for different people over the last 100 years as Dr. B. Kidd has mentioned so well. I would be so bold to add that many just dreamed of not having to fetch water or have something clean to "wipe" with.
Today? Dreams? What dreams? No one dreams anymore unless it involves fast cars, big houses and more money than anyone person could ever need and not have to do a dang thing for it.
I know, not everyone but look at the world today. Our ancestors of a hundred years ago, particularly those who died fighting for their country/beliefs, would be ashamed in many cases.
Cre8tor, the idea you're pursuing here might be summed up as: American's sense of individualism is now as sense of complete self-absorption. I think it holds for a lot of people, like that 50% who do not have to worry about the next rent payment.
More to say today's dreams have no substance. "We all want to be big stars, but we don't know how and we don't know why.(Counting Crows) More like gluttony but not in a class bias. Before class is even known...the dream is rich & lazy with no int
In 1912, the American dream was to own your own farm and be debt-free.
The American dream was passed on to the rest of the world. Consumerism began to take hold on a larger scale in the 1950's in American and Europe. After the Second World War many bought in to the American Dream.
I believe the American dream has fallen apart and people are scrambling to find a new one. Dominating the world clearly doesn't work. We're not that comparatively great in education, health, or economic progress anymore. Military power is not a worthwhile goal. Acquiring money as a dream doesn't work either, and moneyed people being in charge doesn't work.
I see people working to create community now. And I see people working to preserve the environment. And I see people looking for what makes them truly happy. So maybe the quest now is, "In what way can I be a worthy contributor to my community, while living in harmony with the natural world?"
Not being an American, I can only make a guess at this. But I'd say it would mainly involve the 'Work Ethic.' A hundred years ago - especially in places like America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada where there were a lot of newcomers from other lands - the dream was "Work hard and you can grow rich."
Today it is "Get smart and you can grow rich," The dumb work hard. The bright have an angle.
Pardon the cynicism, but that is how I see it. A hundred years ago, only a small percentage of people 'worked the system' to stay ahead of the pack. Now everyone tries to do it.
Women and men want to be equals and no woman has to settle anymore. Women have become independent and there are many technical, educational, and social advantages in today's world.
Yes, "settle" is not in the vocabulary of love anymore. The world changes fast. The "rules of love" you grew up under no longer apply when you reach adulthood. So, you learn to negotiate with each new relationship like the whole thing was new.
My American Dream is Working Hard and being a good wife , Mother, friend, sister, paralegal and planting seeds that will grow in the community.
Just want to pay the bills and relax on weekends. Looking for that dream job now.
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