The dictionary defines the American dream as “the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.” The American dream by definition of Kimberly Amadeo, a writer for The Balance, says, “the ideal that the government should protect each person’s opportunity to pursue their own idea of happiness.” Amadeo also states that, ”the American Dream is the charm of anticipated success.” The idea of an American Dream formed in the 1920’s when having more wealth and artificial items gave you a higher place in social ranks. Years later this idea has changed.

In a paper written by Mark Manson, a blogger and entrepreneur, he states: “In the future, people will probably point to the 9-11 terrorist attacks as the inflection point where the U.S. began its slow descent away from global dominance. But the truth is that the deteriorating forces have been at work within the country for decades.” This is a very significant statement, this points out that the United States is not only physically no longer dominant, but that the government is also corrupt.

The United States government has been progressively more corrupt with each election, senate meetings, and every back door deal made. We witness this today as MIchael Flynn, President Trump’s former National Security Adviser, pleads guilty to feeding Russia information during the 2016 Presidential election. In the book Tribe, written by Sebastian Junger, on page 59 he states, “the beauty and the tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.” This reflects the fact that while the outside world is a threat to our nation, our own government could destroy us before anyone else.

Junger again states on page 109, “if the human race is under threat in some way that we don’t yet understand it will probably be at a community level that we either solve the problem or fail to.” The idea that our nation’s greatest downfall can be ourselves is an idea many Americans don’t stop to think about. Flynn openly admitted to lying to the FBI, to lying to his tribe. Why should he be trusted to defend us? We read news stories about our own representatives getting accused of sexually assaulting women, children, and men, lying to other government officials and using laws and other policies for their own gain. The sad truth is, we as Americans should fear our own government as much as we fear outside terrors.

The fear that the people go through every day has shaped the American dream into the idea that if you have any kind of property in the United States, you are living the American dream. This means that you can achieve the American dream no matter where you live, as long as you have the ability to move up in station. So why would need you to come to a country where, like every other country, we also have corrupt politics. In the Fraser Institute’s ranking of personal freedom, that measures security and safety, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and relationship freedoms. America managed an 8.7 out of 10. The Netherlands earned a 9.5, and New Zealand, Ireland, Japan, Norway and Iceland all tallied scores above 9. The United States is no longer top dog, no longer the superpower among nations.

In the end living the American dream is just a hope in struggling peoples lives that have yet to achieve what they want in life. Junger states, “The earliest and most basic definition of community- of tribe- would be the group of people the you both help feed and help defend.”

With the basic idea that all a human needs to feel fulfilled in life is to support and defend the ones they care about is an idea that is carried through every community, state, and country. All a change takes is a strong community behind it. Any country can be free because all people are free. 

CC BY-SA 4.0 The American Dream by Baylee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Samuel 4 months ago

    Dear Baylee
    I am interested in your essay because everyone has a different option on what the American Dream is. Also, because it good to hear other peoples option on what they think the American Dream today.
    One thing you said that stood out for me was: “Years later this idea has changed” I think this is interesting because I do believe the American Dream has change since the 1920’s but many things about the Dream is still the same today.
    Another statement that caught my attention was: “The United States government has been progressively more corrupt with each election, senate meetings, and every back door deal made.” I think this is confusing because even with a government the does corrupt things the American Dream is still possible.
    Your essay reminds me of something that happened to me. Right now, it is hard to have the Old American dream with everything going on in the world right now. Now everyone does have their own vision of what the American Dream is to them. Although I’m still working towards what my American Dream is when I get there ill feel a sense of accomplishment
    Thanks for your project. I look forward to seeing what you write next because in curious if in a few years if you option of the American dream will change.

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