[tags: Essay on the American Dream]

[tags: Essays on the American Dream]

This, in short, is what sets the stage for the American Dream—however one may define it. For some, it will be the goal of ensuring a better future for their children. For others, it translates into a comfortable middle-class life with a big house and a good job. And for a few, it adds up to a great success story that takes them from rags to riches. Whatever one’s American Dream may be, economic freedom and hard work are what make it possible.

The first pillar of the American Dream is economic freedom. Without the liberty to acquire and possess property and to dispose of it in free markets, our station in life would essentially be fixed at birth. By giving us the ability to profit from our own ideas and labor—to work, produce, consume, own, trade, and invest according to our own choices—economic freedom creates a world in which all may aspire to improve their lot. Since no one can be unjustly deprived of the fruits of his labor and ideas, there is a strong incentive to work hard, excel, innovate, and devise clever ways to do things better.

To the tired complaint, originating in Marx, that in a capitalist economy only the wealthy own the means of production, the Founders would respond that each person in fact owns the most important means of production: himself and his labor, whether physical or mental. As Abraham Lincoln’s own retelling of the “American Dream” makes clear:

The purpose for this bill is to grant many undocumented students their dream of attending college and receiving a higher education degree.

In this sort of appeal inhered the moral authority that issued in the movement’s greatest triumphs, the enactment of the landmark pieces of federal legislation that put an end to the regime of formal segregation that had disfigured much of the republic for the whole of the century to that point. But in King’s expansive vision of integration and community—of the fully realized American dream—further problems and further objectives came quickly into view.

Free Essays on Education and the American Dream

To a large extent, this is still true, but the culture of work has eroded. While the aristocratic regime of Old Europe is not about to make a comeback in the U.S., work is increasingly disparaged. The “work is for suckers” mentality is no longer confined to a few marginal Huck Finns. From gangsta rap to blockbuster slacker movies, much of mainstream culture undermines the work ethos that undergirds the American Dream. The small-time crook and the bumbling pothead are now cultural icons.

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Education and the American Dream

Today, on the Left and on the Right, everyone talks about rebuilding, saving, restoring, defending, or rescuing an American Dream that is slipping, fading, eroding, or vanishing.

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The loudest voices, all coming from the Left, fulminate against the top 1 percent of earners and blame an unfair system that allows the rich to line their pockets, leaves the poor in the lurch, and generates spectacular income disparities. To protect the American Dream, these critics call for greater government involvement to make things more equal and ensure that everyone gets their “fair share.”


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Part I of this report contrasts these two dreams. While the American Dream we all know is about climbing the ladder of opportunity, the new liberal American Dream can best be likened to an escalator of results—everyone hops on and moves up without effort.

What is the American Dream? Many hope for the same things, such as money, an education, good health, safety, a home, jobs, money, and opportunity.

No conclusive resolution of this question in all its various aspects is possible in a relatively short essay. Within present confines, however, a careful analysis of King’s overall understanding of the American dream and of the specific measures required for its realization will show that important elements of King’s thinking are indeed in tension with one another. The tensions come to light in particular upon consideration of the relation between the two phases of King’s campaign to reform America. To provide background and context for that consideration, a brief review of the essentials of King’s life story is in order.

Education and the American Dream - Essay

The real American Dream is first and foremost about hard work and the opportunities created by a free economy. Stemming from our founding principles, it can be summed up by a simple equation:

We're excited for another year of the American Dream Essay Contest, where students will learn the Cowboy Ethics Values and grow as young adults.

Government has a supporting role to play for this dream to come true. It must, for example, uphold the rule of law, secure property rights, ensure access to education, and provide a safety net for those who cannot care for themselves, but the focus remains on the individual and his efforts to rise and help those around him do the same. Given the diversity of individual efforts, not all will succeed. Unequal results are a natural outcome of equal opportunity.