Posted by Word Camel on June 06, 2003
In Reply to: Re: American dream posted by Barney on June 06, 2003
: : Is there a consensus on the meaning of American dream? What do most people think it means?
: Like most expressions of this kind it means exactly what the politician who utters it says it means but, in truth, it is meaningless jingoism.
What it actually means is the ability for one generation - especially of immigrants - to rise within society to be significantly better off than the last in terms of education, opportunity and prosperity. It is sometimes confused with home ownership, which has been it's most potent symbol since the housing boom after second world war. I couldn't find the origin of the term but I'd be very interested to know.
I must disagree the our cantankerous friend above however when he says attributes it to mindless jingoism. Though the term is certainly abused by politicians, near and far, and American society is not perfect by any means, I think the aspiration for a better life for oneself and ones children is far more progressive in a universal sense than societies which make a virtue of knowing ones place.