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American dream

the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American.
a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.
Contemporary Examples

Marco Rubio did his best Barack Obama impression Thursday, professing his profound belief in the American Dream.
WATCH VIDEO: Must-See Moments from the Republican National Convention The Daily Beast Video August 30, 2012

Read a cautionary tale about the seductive and dangerous power of a charlatan sociopath, featuring goats and the American Dream.
The Strange, True Tale of the Old-Timey Goat Testicle-Implanting ‘Governor’ Penny Lane September 15, 2014

Hear the soaring anguished cadences of Martin Luther King Jr. proclaiming an American Dream.
March on Washington Anniversary: a Lesson for Change Hedrick Smith August 27, 2012

But the American Dream is such a pretty windmill to chase that it’s not a problem to get new arrivals to join in the pursuit.
Why I Love the Mosque Elizabeth Wurtzel August 3, 2010

And exhibit A for the endurance of the American Dream in this respect is our president, Barack Obama.
As Income Inequality Widens, Rich Presidential Candidates Dominate John Avlon July 12, 2012

That dream -– that American Dream -– is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era.
Obama’s State of the Union Speech Transcript The Daily Beast January 25, 2011

His books include The American Dream, Deadlines and Datelines, The Camera Never Blinks, and The Palace Guard.
Where’s The Outrage? Dan Rather February 11, 2009

As an American Dream re-inventor, Elvis wasn’t lacking qualifications, not the least of which was volcanic ambition.
Why Elvis Presley Never Really Died Larry Durstin August 15, 2013

Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat.
Obama’s State of the Union Speech Transcript The Daily Beast January 25, 2011

Historical Examples

To make the American Dream achievable for all, we must make college affordable for all.
Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to 2006 Various

the American Dream, the notion that the American social, economic, and political system makes success possible for every individual

coined 1931 by James Truslow Adams (1878-1949), U.S. writer and popular historian (unrelated to the Massachusetts Adamses), in “Epic of America.”

[The American Dream is] that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position. [Adams]

Others have used the term as they will.

A phrase connoting hope for prosperity and happiness, symbolized particularly by having a house of one’s own. Possibly applied at first to the hopes of immigrants, the phrase now applies to all except the very rich and suggests a confident hope that one’s children’s economic and social condition will be better than one’s own.


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