Why do people want the American dream

American Dream: Definition, Today and Exam / Abitur

The American Dream is covered in this article. We deal with the idea / definition of the American Dream, look at what has become of it today and which typical tasks could be set in exams or high school. This article belongs to our English section.

The term American Dream appears regularly in the school's English lessons. But what does that mean? Well, there is no uniform definition of the American Dream. Basically, it means that a person can make it from the bottom to the top without a lot of money, but with great effort. Practically "from dishwasher to millionaire". In the English language there is a similar expression with “from rags to riches” (“from rags to riches”).

While it was a great incentive for many (white) citizens in the USA to get really rich, many immigrants associated it with a slightly different idea under the American Dream. For many African Americans, it was a question of escaping the ghettos in which they were forced to live. They wanted to escape from this high-crime environment and move to the safe outskirts of the city. One way to do this was to give their children a good education to break the cycle of poverty.

The term "American Dream" goes back to the American writer James Truslow Adams. He first used it in his book The Epic of America in 1931. It is primarily about the freedom of every person who works hard in personal responsibility and in competition with others and this success brings him financially to the top.


American Dream today

Does the American Dream still exist today? Well, at least its implementation has become much more difficult. Studies show that social mobility in the US is very low. As a rule, those who are poor remain poor. Those who are born in the lower social class have little chance of advancing. Therefore, the myth that anyone can achieve anything if they just make the right effort is more of a curse for the less gifted and socially disadvantaged. Because it suggests that all poor and needy people are to blame for their situation. For 50 million Americans, the phrase “from rags to riches” (“from rags to riches”) might sound like a bad joke, because they have so little money that they can barely afford to eat them every day.

But even those who come from a parental home with at least a little wealth have a very difficult time getting up. Because in order to successfully start the career ladder, a degree is usually necessary. However, if you want to study in the USA, you need a small fortune. Since many parents simply do not have this money, huge loans have to be taken out. Even those who then successfully complete their studies start their career with a large mountain of debt. And getting rid of this is becoming more and more difficult: The number of well-paid jobs in the USA has been falling for a long time and a lot of applicants are fighting for them. Many graduates are therefore forced to take on temporary jobs, with which, however, a loan cannot be repaid.

The dream of rags-to-riches to become a millionaire is impossible for the masses of people. Of course, this applies not only in the USA, but also in Europe. It cannot only be achieved with hard work, otherwise many cleaning women, craftsmen and nurses would already be rich. Instead, smart business concepts, for example, count today. An example: Mark Zuckerberg - the founder of Facebook comes from a normal / good background (father a dentist, mother a psychotherapist) but has become really rich and successful through the successful development of Facebook. The American Dream still exists today, only very few can walk it.


American Dream exam and high school diploma

We have just dealt with the idea of ​​the American Dream and also whether it still exists today. From this, of course, typical tasks for an exam or the Abitur can be derived. We would like to show you some possible questions here:

  • What is the American Dream?
  • Does the American Dream still exist today?
  • Is the American Dream even worth striving for?
  • Which people have made it from the bottom to the top in the United States in recent years?
  • Does the American Dream mean that many Americans focus only on themselves and place little value on society?
  • Is the American Dream worth striving for?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of such an "American Dream" for US society or for any society at all?


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