Hey, I'm from Denmark, Scandinavia and I am working on an essay about the American Dream. Is the idea of the American Dream still relevant today in America?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, different Americans could have different opinions about this question, but I believe that the idea of the American Dream is still very relevant to most Americans.  I believe that most Americans still expect that they will have the economic opportunity and the social mobility that is promised in the American Dream.  I believe that much of our current political conflict is caused by the feeling that the American Dream may be slipping away.

First, let us define the American Dream.  I would say that one aspect of this dream is that Americans feel that they should be better-off than their parents were and that their children should expect to have even better lives than they do.  Thus, there is a clear materialistic aspect to the dream.  In addition, there is an aspect of the dream that says that Americans should feel that they are in control of their destinies, both as individuals and as a nation.

I believe that both aspects of this dream remain relevant today.  It may be that the dream is becoming harder to actually achieve, but this still shows how relevant it is to Americans.  Many Americans believe that economic opportunity is decreasing and that the country is becoming less powerful.  They feel that they do not have the same chance of living the American Dream that previous generations did.  We can see that this is relevant because it leads to a great deal of anger among Americans.  Both liberals and conservatives are angry because they see the dream slipping away.  Conservatives become angry and turn to angry “leaders” like Donald Trump because they feel that such leaders can restore the American Dream, bringing back economic prosperity and the dominance of the US and of white American men.  Liberals become angry and are tempted to turn to people like Bernie Sanders who promise to rein in what they see as greedy rich people who have destroyed the American Dream.

In my view, this proves the continuing relevance of the American Dream.  Americans are angry because they feel the dream is being lost.  If you are angry because you think something is being lost, it implies that the thing is relevant to you.