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What do you believe the American Dream is today? Is it still possible to achieve the American Dream or is it a false dream? Do Americans have common goals and ideals? Why, in your opinion, do people from other countries want to come to America?

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The American Dream is the idea that anyone with drive can make it here! People are attracted to this country because of religious freedom, freedom of speech, artistic freedom, freedom to obtain an education and freedom to make your dreams of success a reality if you try hard enough. The...

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The American Dream is the idea that anyone with drive can make it here! People are attracted to this country because of religious freedom, freedom of speech, artistic freedom, freedom to obtain an education and freedom to make your dreams of success a reality if you try hard enough. The idea of the American Dream is that anyone, regardless of background has an equal chance and that is what attracts people from all over the world to America.
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I've often thought that the term "American dream" really just means that people want to have the ability to pursue their own happiness. We seem to attach the specific goal of home ownership to the term, but I think it's a lot more than that. You can rent or lease a place to live and still pursue your own goals and have the freedom to look for happiness in your own way.

Is the American dream still alive? Of course it is. As long as we are free people, we can pursue the dream. It might be more difficult now than it was 30 years ago, or it might involve different goals, but it still exists.

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I think the heart of the American Dream can be boiled down to striving for independence.  It is humanly ingrained in us from the time we are children, that the "goal" in life is to one day be independent.  

Today, the focus has become "financial freedom," living debt free, and self-provision.  In that way, I think the nation is divided.  It seems that probably half of the adults in America (possibly more) are not only receiving some sort of financial help (whether from family, friends, or the government) but now, more than ever, no longer seeking to get out from under it.  In fact, many believe that receiving help from others is their "right." 

I think American Dream has become divided.  Some still adhere to the traditional goal to "make it" on their own, while others are fighting hard to make sure everyone is "equal" when it comes to success, at whatever cost.

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e-martin defines the idealized American Dream of "self-determination and self-reliance" that the most of the immigrants of Colonial Amerca and those who came through Ellis Island possessed.  Nowadays, one perceives more of the satirized dream of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby with materialism at the apex.  Worse than this is the concept of coming to America for "free" things such as food, housing, education, and whatever else one can grab. A dream for some; a nightmare for others who must pay the price of this pipedream.

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I do not think the American Dream has changed very much since its beginnings.  We all believe, like Gatsby, that we will achieve financial success, win the princess (or prince), and live happily every after, no matter what our humble beginnings might be.  What I do think has changed is that the younger generations seem to think that they have to put in less or no work in order to realize the dream, and while I do understand that times are very tough right now and it's a dream deferred, the fact is that you have to more than show up with whitened teeth to have your dreams come true. 

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I think this is a good and an important question. To me, the American Dream involves a vision of financial self-determination and self-reliance.

The perception of America, from the outside, is that this is a nation possibility. People will not be constrained by former limits, but will be empowered in the US to pursue the achievement of financial success and upward mobility.

Inside America, as the country becomes a bit poorer than it has been recently, we see this same vision of upward potential being reconstituted.

People are again being prodded to go to school to improve their earning potential. However, there are fewer perceived opportunities for real advancement in the US now compared to the perception 25 years ago.

The dream of upward mobility is still intact, but it is mitigated somewhat by a sense of a ceiling for earnings and upward movement, and an uncertainty as to what the "American Story" is now.  This is a time of redefinition, where the dream still plays its part, but where it stands next to a gaping question as to what this country and the world will look like next year. 

 

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The concept of the American Dream is ambiguous enough that it can withstand any example of how it is impossible to achieve. People can define it for themselves in a variety of ways, and the concept itself can shift based on cultural and social norms. 

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) is probably the clearest example of how the American Dream is not for everyone. His heroes have the chance to gain success, but they fall short through circumstances surrounding them. 

But that doesn't make it a false dream. For every story of falling short, there are other stories of success. Look to non-fiction, and you can see plenty of memoirs that tell of individuals achieving the American Dream (The Pursuit of Happyness, David Gardner or Homeless to Harvard, the Liz Murray story)

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