The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.
- The American dream is, in part, responsible for a great deal of crime and violence because people feel that the country owes them not only a living but a good living.
- Psychoanalyst Dr. David Abrahamsen, San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle (November 18th, 1975)
- The American Dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class.
- James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America (2nd Edition, Greenwood Press, p. 405)
- 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 ability or achievement. 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.
- James Truslow Adams introduced the term "American Dream" in his 1931 book The Epic of America (2nd Edition, Greenwood Press, p. 404)
- American foreign policy ... has, in ways direct and indirect, enhanced the ability of its growing legion of international corporations to engage in resource-extraction industries in countries and territories around the globe. ... U. S. history is also always global to the extent that the lifestyles its citizens lead/are able to lead—not just materially but spiritually as well—are profoundly anchored in and shaped by the growing consumptive "culture of extraction" that required access to the raw materials and consumer items its citizens used to help realize "the American Dream." Consumption thus offers a key lens through which we can understand and connect American history to global history primarily because, in the last century, American history is the history of consumption. And the history of consumption is the history of global colonialism.
- Chris Andersen, Dean of Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, in Why You Can't Teach United States History without American Indians (2015), p. 288
- The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now: the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam.
- J. G. Ballard, in an interview in Metaphors No. 7, (1983)
- Magneto: [T]here is no land of tolerance. There is no peace. Not here, nor anywhere else. Women, children, whole families destroyed simply because they were born different from those in power.
- I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
- I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream — a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. (11 May 1959), "Address at the Religious Leaders Conference"; Washington, D.C.
- Seeking the invisible through the imagery of the visible, the Americans never can get quite all the way to the end of the American dream.
- Lewis H. Lapham, Money and Class in America, Chapter 1, The Gilded Cage, p. 28
- Do I have to change my name? Will that get me far?
Do I have to lose some weight, am I going to be a star? …
I'm just living out the American Dream
And I just realized that nothing is what it seems.
- Belief in the American dream is woefully misguided when compared with objective reality. Addressing the rising economic gap between rich and poor in society, it seems, will require us to contend not only with economic and political issues, but also with biases of our psychology.
- "American Dream? Or Mirage?" (1 May 2015), Sunday Review, New York City: The New York Times Company.
- If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
- Barack Obama, Election victory speech, (4 November 2008)
- The American dream had become the world's nightmare. A world power, having military strength of terrifying proportions behind it, America sent its envoys from Washington to cajole, threaten and bully those it needed to satisfy its own ends.
- Don Pendleton, Day of Decision (2004), p. 17
- What does the American dream mean today? For Niko Bellic fresh off the boat from Europe, it is the hope he can escape his past. For his cousin, Roman, it is the vision that together they can find fortune in Liberty City, gateway to the land of opportunity. As they slip into debt and get dragged into a criminal underworld by a series if shysters, thieves and sociopaths, they discover that the reality is very different from the dream in a city that worships money and status, and is heaven for those who have them and a living nightmare for those who don't.
- I'm Miss American Dream since I was seventeen
- "I hate to say this," said my attorney as we sat down at the Merry-Go-Round Bar on the second balcony, "but this place is getting to me. I think I'm getting the Fear."
"Nonsense," I said. "We came here to find the American Dream, and now that we're right in the vortex you want to quit." I grabbed his bicep and squeezed. "You must realize," I said, "that we've found the main nerve."
"I know," he said. "That's what gives me the Fear."
- Who are these people? These faces! Where do they come from? They look like caricatures of used-car dealers from Dallas. And, sweet Jesus, there are a hell of a lot of them - still screaming around these desert — city crap tables at four thirty on a Sunday morning. Still humping the American Dream, that vision of the Big Winner somehow emerging from the last minute pre-dawn chaos of a stale Vegas casino.
- Look at those cunts on MTV, with their cars and cribs and rings and shit. Is that what being a celebrity means? Look boys and girls, here's BBC. See corpses, rapes, and amputees. What do you think now of the American dream?
- Sadly the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president, I will bring it back, bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again.
- No matter what label they use; a vote for any democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of our great - our beautiful - our wonderful American Dream. We're not going to let our country ever go down the route of socialism.
- You and I have never seen democracy; all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism, we see through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream; we’ve experienced only the American nightmare. We haven’t benefited from America's democracy; we’ve only suffered from America’s hypocrisy. And the generation that’s coming up now can see it and are not afraid to say it.
- Malcolm X, "The Ballot or the Bullet," Speech in Detroit, Michigan, (April 12, 1964)