United States citizens epitomize the idea of the American Dream on a daily basis. Many people come to the United States in hopes to live what is known as “The American Dream.” Other countries in the world do not have the opportunities that we have as Americans. This idealistic thought of living with freedom gives people the opportunity to work hard and succeed; furthermore, the ability to achieve success is what people are looking to strive for. This idea of freedom originated from the Declaration of Independence where it states that “all men are created equal.” Multitudes of people come from the bottom of American Society in hopes of climbing to top of the totem pole. Based on the ideas in unit two, the American Dream is success, motivation, and hard work.
The first concept of the American Dream is success. In order to become successful, it is important to take the necessary steps to reach that goal. An example of a man who strived for what he wanted and succeeded is from the video “Lessons from a Tailor.” This man was in a concentration camp in Germany; he found his way to America to live out the American Dream. He strongly believed that hard work pays off, and giving back to others increases your success. This man came from almost certain death and persevered until he was at the top; furthermore, he gave back to a large amount of people with his dedication. Anyone can live their dream no matter what the situation. “Para Troopers,” Susan Horsburgh interviews a triple Olympic gold medalist, Ian Thorpe. In the interview Thorpe says, “there’s no difference between able-bodied and disabled athletes. We’re both dedicated to the same pursuit of excellence” (1). Being disabled does not mean one cannot continue what he or she loves; one continues to fight hard and never give up. In the book Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave, Fredrick Douglass comments about the feeling of success. Douglass was a slave who was determined to achieve freedom. He taught himself how to read, and went through all of the hardships of a slave. Douglass applied himself in every way possible to achieve his goal of becoming a free individual. Douglass believes that teaching himself to read and write, “was to me the starting-point of new existence” (98). Douglass went through years of brutality to become his own master, but he never gave up as he worked towards his dream. Ever since the age of five, I have been heavily into softball. I have worked hard every day through the struggles and the pain to get to where I am today. I work hard at practice everyday to earn a starting position on the College of the Canyons softball team because that is my motivation. All the hard work through the years has helped me to become the strong and motivated athlete I am today.
Another important part of the American Dream is motivation. Motivation is the act of something that inspires a person to attain his or her goal. Later in the book, Douglass illustrates how he was instantly motivated to learn how to read and write, knowing it would make him less of a slave. When Douglass found out that him knowing how to read upset his master, it inspired him to want to continue to read and educate himself. Douglass admits: “in learning to read, I owe almost as much to the bitter opposition of my master, as to the kindly aid of my mistress” (41). His motivation to read came from him knowing that he was of no use to his master and the disturbance it would bring. Anyone can have a dream and express how they feel. In “I Have a Dream,” Martin Luther King, Jr. has a dream and he was motivated to share it with his fellow Americans. King declares, “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream” (2). Martin Luther King Jr. risked his life to tell America his ultimate goal of equality among all people no matter how dangerous it might have been; he was motivated to have