The American Dream in the 1990's

By Bradley Roemer and Katie Adams

EVENTS, PEOPLE, MOVEMENTS, NORMS, AND/OR PERCEPTIONS

In this time period of economic struggle, many believed in the usual "good health, family, and a house" idea of the American Dream while few still believed in the dream as being rich and famous. This generation of children dreamed of being better than their parents in the respect of higher achievement (ie. not one house but two). As with all things in life, there were pessimists, optimists and realists alike. Native American Alden Naranjo says, "If this is the American dream, then I'm in the wrong place."

American Dream and the Historical Context

The American dream in the 1990's was to have a family, a house, and good health, but to go a step farther than what parents had given and to set higher goals. During this time of economic struggle, the focus was more on success but not necessarily economic success, and happiness was still a large part of the dream for many Americans.
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"It's only natural to want to do better than your parents."
-Tyrone Belke (a 22 year old "young, gifted, and out of work" architect).

"Their children are dreaming large: making it means not one, but two homes; not a station wagon, but a BMW, and vacations in the Carribean."

COMPARE AND CONTRAST

Similarities:
  • All people alike still strive to do well, be healthy, and have a nice home and family
  • The idea of buying a house and having a nice car are still present in 1996
  • The American Dream is still a necessity to the prosperity of the U.S.


Differences:

  • The American dream in the current time period is much more about freedom and American pride than it was portrayed to be in the 90's.
  • The dream of the 90's, which was for children to do better than their parents, has now all but disappeared. What a child dreams of is often independent of the parent nowadays.
  • Less people think it possible to achieve the American Dream in the 90's, "The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it."-George Carlin.
  • The plan that if you work hard you will make it is no longer true for the generation in the 1990's. "For today's generation, economic ascendency is not assured as it was before"-Mario M. Cuomo.

HIGH SOCIETY AND POVERTY

While the lower class workers, or even middle class suffered from economic struggle that including fewer available jobs, higher taxes, or even lower wages, the wealthy didn't feel the effects in the same way. Both the upper class and lower class had similar dreams for success despite the economic divide, it was just that the upper class had a better opportunity to achieve their dream.