There are many influential beliefs in America, thoughts and values that help shape our individual cultures. These are a combination of values new and old. Every person maintains a different perspective that could help them define and reach for their American dream.

Documents ranging from as far back as the beginning of this country have shown us the rights people have worked for. The Declaration of Independence, being one such document, has defined the stereotypical American dream through equality, freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Over time this dream has been altered as society flourished in new ways and focused on new ideals.

The poem Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes describes the struggle as people try to identify what they as individuals are working towards. More modern attitudes such as the wealthier the better have been inflicted on society, causing older values to seem less important. When this poem was written, America was in the process of once again trying to find itself. Hughes describes the big melting pot community as a place where not everyone shares the same standard American creed or beliefs. As people adjusted their personal values to better align with their current situation, they added to the list of differences that further define our culture.

Every day our culture and beliefs slightly change as depicted in the recent video called What Does America Stand For?. This compilation of opinions from students all across the country helped show what the younger generations are working for, success and achievement as a definition of their American dream. It is very interesting because as you look at different people’s lives you find that they truly believe in a mix of old and new values.

People still believe that equality and freedom are the foundation of our American culture, but they have also incorporated ideas such as status, employment, and wealth. This evolution of opinions is what continues to shape our individual beliefs.



Hughes, Langston. “Let America Be America Again.”, Academy of American Poets, 25 Oct. 2016, Accessed 2 October 2017.

North, Anna. “What Does America Stand For? We Asked Teenagers.” The New York Times, The New York

Times, 23 Aug. 2017,

z=0. Accessed 2 October 2017.

“The Declaration of Independence: Full Text.”, Independence Hall Association, 4 July

1995, Accessed 2 October 2017.


Photo by lacafferata

  1. Karina 3 years ago

    Dear Rebecca,
    I am Interested with your post about the American Dream and how its changed throughout the years because it true . Something you said that stood out to me was when you said , “Every day our culture and beliefs slightly change …” because this is so true we all want to accomplish the American Dream but on the daily basic things change .

  2. Emilee 3 years ago

    Rebecca, thank you for posting! I really like how you talked about how the American Dream means something different for everyone. I think the American Dream is usually talked about as one big idea, but really it’s a bunch of ideas working toward a common goal. I was able to see how it’s different in your post, especially when you talk about Langston Hughes and his experience. This difference can also be seen in the video you reference and I think these different perspectives have made me wonder what my American Dream is. How about you, what is your American Dream?

  3. Sophia 3 years ago

    Thank you so much for your post! I find it very interesting how the American Dream has changed throughout the years. I like how you used different documents from different times to show this. It’s interesting how so many people have their own version of the American Dream, yet they still try and define it as one topic. Despite its many definitions, everyone still seems to classify it under the category of the American Dream. Some people may say that it’s about Freedom and Equality, others may say it’s about wealth and status, and others might have a mix of both. I feel like depending on where you come from, different people have different American Dreams. It seems that the American Dream is about as diverse as the American People themselves. Thank you so much for your post and I look forward to your future posts!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account