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American Dream or American Nightmare? - 2.Version - Referat

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone. (…) It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature (…) regardless of (…) birth or position.” - J. T. Adams

The idea of the American Dream probably began to take hold when Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1776 that Americans were born with the unalienable rights to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness“. The phrase itself was actually shaped by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book “The Epic of America“.

The theoretical construct behind this belief began in the 18th century after the Independence war between Britain and 13 colonies of North America. They fought over freedom and the USA were declared as independent after the victory.

The flag, today known as “stars and stripes“, symbolize the former 13 colonies and the current 50 states of America. Subsequently after the war Thomas Jefferson released the “Declaration of Independence“ the 4th of July 1776 . It refers to basic human rights such as freedom and equality and serves as well as a fundament for the mindset “American Dream“. The following constitution, announced by the government, introduces the system of checks and balances. It contains the separation of power, so neither the legislative, the executive nor the judicative can use its full capacity to prevail over the country, which is supported by the Bill of Rights, to protect the individual citizen from the government.
The concept is hard to pin down because there are individual interpretations. Some dream of fame and fortune, others in first instance of freedom and a life without state interference. For centuries people have come to America - and are still coming - attracted by the American Dream.

On the one hand the people benefit from upward mobilities such as public high schools which allows them to have equal opportunities, if they work hard enough. This leads to better living conditions which includes economic advantages like success,
mobility and good land. Other aspects beyond the financial benefit are political ideals p.e. freedom of religion, press, speech and democracy in general.

On the other hand there are issues which could destroy the vision of the American Dream. The most significant is international terrorism in consequence of incidents like 9/11. Furthermore racism is still alive as well as the repression of minorities.

Another problem is based on the current economic situation. Today there is a high unemployment rate, which many US-citizens have to suffer from. With reference to immigration, Trump claimed an entry ban for immigrants from certain muslims countries because of possible terrorism threat as already mentioned. He wants to improve the border protection by a separation wall between USA and Mexico to prevent immigration from South America.

Today it is difficult to implement the theoretical construct of the “American Dream“ in the current political situation because of the recent presidency of Donald Trump. Furthermore the gap between the rich and the poor gets insuperable and it promotes social inequality. These aspects threaten the American Dream.

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