If you could write your own version of an American Dream for Christians, what would it look like? Since we’re talking about the American Dream this month, we thought we would offer one definition and a little history.
The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone.
The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance.
Understanding the American dream
The term was coined by writer and historian James Truslow Adams in his best-selling 1931 book Epic of America. He described it as “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.”
Adams went on to explain, “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.”
The idea of the American Dream has much deeper roots. Its tenets can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Photo: Mike C. Valdivia, Unsplash