How does Langston Hughes' poem, "Let America be America again," show the American Dream?

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem, "Let America Be America Again," by Langston Hughes, shows what the American dream was supposed to be, though that dream did not come true for African Americans or for immigrants and the poor. Throughout the poem, Hughes writes about the dream people once had-that American had been thought of as "a great strong land of love." It was a place where liberty was the way of the land. The dreamers who built America, after running from persecution in their own lands, believed in this ideal of freedom for all, but that dream seems to have died for so many who are still not truly free. People came to America with dreams of what could be, only to work hard and find themselves still oppressed by the few who have the power. Hughes shows the reader what the dream once was, but he now knows it was a lie, at least for many people. He wants to bring to bring that dream back for everyone-he thinks there is still hope.