The Self-Made Man Archetype
The American Dream is a national ethos in the United States, deeply embedded in social consciousnessThe idea of the American Dream is rooted in the second sentence of the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The concept of the self-made man is inextricably tied up with the American Dream.
. in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success.
Although typically associated with the rags to riches story, a self-made man is anyone who attains far greater success than his original circumstances would have indicated was possible. It is his image that has lured thousands of immigrants to America’s shores, all hoping for the chance to turn little possessives into a vast fortune. The self-made man is one who comes from unpromising circumstances, who is not born into privilege and wealth, and yet by his own efforts, by pulling himself “up by the bootstraps”, manages to become a great success in life. It is not external help or special relationships that make the crucial difference in the self-made man’s rise. self-made men throughout history have made their own way in life by reaching deep inside themselves and through willpower and self-improvement, creating their own destiny. Moreover the "good luck theory", attributing success to chance and friendly circumstances does not applied here. It is not luck that makes a man a self-made man, but considerable physical and mental effort. "There is nothing good, great or desirable […], that does not come by some kind of labor” said a thinker and a self-made man himself, Frederick Douglass. Similar to Franklin, Douglass underlines the importance of hard work as a necessary means to achieve success. He also claims that ease and luxury rather lead to helplessness...