Evolution of the American Dream Essay

1115 WordsJan 28, 20145 Pages
The American dream has always been (and will most likely continue to be) a controversial topic for many. Some may wonder just what exactly the American Dream is, while others may question whether or not its meaning has changed over the course of the nation’s history. The American Dream is essentially the idea that anyone should be able to live a successful and ambitious life as long as they put forth the effort required to do so. Sadly, due to our nation’s past beliefs, not everyone has had the chance to live the American Dream. The evolution of our nation’s beliefs is very evident when writings from the past and the present are compared. Some passages that are ideal for comparison and that show off many characteristics of the American Dream include slave narratives from Frederick Douglas and Harriet Jacobs, Hilary Clinton’s International Human Rights Day speech, and Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech. Slave narratives were autobiographical accounts of slaves who recorded the challenges and unfair nature of their day to day lives. Frederick Douglas was a slave who was famous for being particularly motivating in his narratives. In one of his narratives he writes about a day that his master severely beat him and forced him to walk several miles to a doctor. One of Douglas’ reasons for including this section was so that he could connect with his audience emotionally and win their favor with pathos, showing them just how unfair it was that he was treated in such a way. Unfortunately, thoughts of superiority tend to shape a nation in an unfavorable way, and Douglas succeeds in giving his readers an accurate account of this, showing how slaves were unjustly denied the right of living the American Dream because of their nation’s belief that certain skin tones were superior to others, something that would definitely be frowned upon today. Harriet

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