Obtaining the American Dream is not a bad thing, as long as you don’t go too far and lose the dream altogether. The American Dream was made possible by a setting that was conducive to prosperity, peace and opportunity. Here are the three main geographic, economic and political factors.
At first, the Declaration intended for white land owners. But, overtime the idea of rights was
so string that laws were added to extend these rights to slaves, women, and non-property
owners. In this way, the American Dream changed the course of America itself.
The countries’ presidents talked the evolution of the American Dream. President Lincoln guaranteed the Dream’s equal opportunity towards slaves. President Wilson supported women’s voting rights. It led to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1918. President Johnson promoted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That ended segregation in the schools. It protects workers from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In 1967, he extended those rights to those over 40. President Obama supported the legal benefits of the marriage contract regardless of sexual orientation.
After the 1920s, many presidents supported the Gatsby Dream by guaranteeing material benefits. President Roosevelt extended equal opportunity to homeownership by creating Fannie Mae to insure mortgages. His Economic Bill of Rights advocated, “…the right to decent housing, to a job that was sufficient to support one’s family and oneself, to educational opportunities for all and to universal health care.”
President Truman built upon this idea after World War II. His “post-war social contract” included the GI Bill. It provided government-funded college degrees for returning veterans. Urban policy expert Matt Lassiter summed up Truman’s “contract” this way: “…if you worked hard and played by the rules, you deserved certain things. You deserved security and decent shelter and to not have to worry all the time that you might lose your house to bankruptcy.”
U.S. prosperity after World War II allowed people to expect those things in their lifetime. The Bush and Clinton Administrations supported the Dream of home ownership. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton presented the American Dream Plan. This included the opportunity to go to college, save for retirement, own a home, health insurance for all
children, business growth and prosperity.
President Obama furthered FDR’s idea that everyone should have access to affordable health care. He softened the blow of the recession for many by extending unemployment benefits and increasing government assistance for student loans.
There is disagreement over the definition of the American Dream today. Some even think we’ve seen the End of the American Dream. But this inspiring idea from the Founding Fathers will continue to evolve. Both the right to pursue happiness and the right to disagree about what that means are what makes the American Dream so powerful