American Dream

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See also: American dream


Alternative forms[edit]


Coined by American writer and historian James Truslow Adams in 1931.[1][2]


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American Dream (singular)

  1. (idiomatic) A widespread determination by Americans to provide their children with a better upbringing than their parents were able to provide for them.
    • 1968 August 8, Richard Nixon, Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, Miami Beach, Florida:
      They are not racists or sick; they are not guilty of the crime that plagues the land. They are black and they are white —they're native born and foreign born—they're young and they're old. [] They give drive to the spirit of America. They give lift to the American Dream.
  2. (idiomatic) A philosophy that with perseverance, courage and determination, anyone can prosper and achieve success.
    • 1931, James Truslow Adams, The Epic Of America, Boston: Little, Brown, And Company, page 135:
      If America has stood for anything unique in the history of the world, it has been for the American dream, the belief in the common man and the insistence upon his having, as far as possible, equal opportunity in every way with the rich one.
    • 2012 October 24, David Leonhardt, quoting Frank Levy, “Standard of Living Is in the Shadows as Election Issue”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      “The whole notion of the American dream,” said Frank Levy, an M.I.T. economist, “described a mass upward mobility that is just a lot harder to achieve right now.”
    • 2022 August 21, Jazmine Ulloa, “How a Storied Phrase Became a Partisan Battleground”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Now, a new crop of Republican candidates and elected officials are using the phrase in a different way, invoking the same promise but arguing in speeches, ads and mailings that the American dream is dying or in danger, threatened by what they see as rampant crime, unchecked illegal immigration, burdensome government regulations and liberal social policies.


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See also[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “American dream”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ James Truslow Adams (1931) The Epic Of America, Boston: Little, Brown, And Company, Epilogue, page 404: “But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.”

Further reading[edit]