The American Dream

Events, People, Movements, Ideas, Norms, and Perceptions

- America was in the midst of the Great Depression

- Women's suffrage had only been put in place recently, and other women's movements were beginning.

-Industry was building and putting agriculture on the back burner

Historical Context

1933 represented a time in which the American people needed an American Dream the most throughout history. To them, the American Dream represented the recovery, wealth, and hope they all longed for amidst the Great Depression. Many had predicted the economic crash, but not the widespread effects it produced. The crash in stocks and the economy in general served as a wake up call to an American dream that had become materialistic. They no longer had the materialistic hopes of past years, but now began appreciating the things they had; they simply had no other option. Women began to gain influence and earned their rights carrying American homes through this period. The American Dream was hope, achieved by family, unity, and recovery.
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"The dream is a vision of a better, deeper, richer life for every individual."

"That dream has always meant more than the mere accumulation of material goods. It has been warped almost to the breaking point by the materialism of the past dozen years."

"We are annoyed that we cannot make reality conform to our wish, and many prefer to insist on their wishes and deny reality."

Compare and Contrast

It's clear that that certain aspects of the article's "American Dream" and the present day "American Dream" are similar if not the same. The "rich man's panic" concept will hold true for years to come. At the time of the article, they were in the midst of the Great Depression and because the industries were still down and the stock market wasn't really gaining any steam, the American Dream was still focused on economic success as opposed to more abstract ideas. People wanted jobs, they wanted food, and that was more the idea of the American Dream at the time. The American Dream is slightly different today because we're coming out of an economic recession. Many new possibilities are being presented to the people of today's world. The dream is not so much focused on money and material things as it is on abstract ideas and opportunity. This is a major way in which the American Dream is different from 1933 to today.

High Society and Poverty

As previously explained, the Great Depression was a time of unity, sadly under poverty. In this way, every citizen was affected. Even the well off and middle class were often evicted or found themselves unemployed for long periods of time. The formerly poor often were forced into homelessness and begging. The massive divide between rich and lower class lifestyle before the Great Depression was closed largely once it began, though by sad means. The high society aristocrats and lower class families were united under the American Dream; they all needed something to hope for.
Is the American Dream Real?