Essay on American dreams

Submitted By Sam_h2011
Words: 1014
Pages: 5

H. W. Brands. American dreams: The United States Since 1945. New York: Penguin Group, 2010. Pp. x, 420. After World War II, the United States emerged as the greatest super power. The U.S. emerged stronger than it entered. The great depression had weakened the sense of pride and prosperity America was once known for. However, the war changed all of that. The United States as a whole was growing and thriving. Driving this prosperity has been the dreams of many Americans. America has always survived off of the dreams of its people. From the end of the World War II up until now, dreams of liberty, equality, and happiness have been at the backbone of America. Along the way, there have been times when these dreams have faded. Brands states, “When the unity of the war years diminished amid the distractions of a confusing peace; in politics and culture Americans drifted apart, often acrimoniously.” However, even during these times dreams weren’t lost. Brands takes a look at what was done in the past six decades and what has driven America to be what it is today. Brands asserts, “The moral foundation of America’s dreams had always been the right to dream, and that Americans weren’t about to surrender that.” Brands takes on the rarely attempted topic of how America today was created and how dreams came out of global catastrophe. He points out that the heart of American dreams was the act of dreaming itself. As the title points out, the main topic of the book is American dreams. Brand does not take the usual outlook on American dreams. He looks much deeper than just the surface of the dreams of Americans. Brand points out that Americans have always had a choice in what they wanted to dream about and that is what makes America. Opening with the topic of the A-bomb, Brand looks at how the depression and the war challenged the customary American dream. Originally, the average person would work and save money for rainy days and eventually be able to enjoy their golden years with security without help from the government (Brand, 16). After the war the welfare state became more prominent and now the American people expected more out of their government than ever before. Brand sets out to show how America has changed over the past six decades and how the American dream has wavered over time. Going into detail, Brand covers all of the highs and lows of this great nation and what came from these times. Over the course of the book, Brand covers everything from the political aspect, to iPhone and how each of these impacted this country as a whole. The American dream has always consisted of liberty and prosperity. However, Brand points out in one of the main topics of discussion, the Cold War, that this dream has been shaken. This war changed many people’s outlooks on their future. Many did not know what was in store for them or the world. Coming from out of this time were dreams that were collectively ambitious. The WWII brought the country together as a whole. After the war was over the United States took on the role of the “global police” enforcing and trying to rebuild the rest of the world. Brand looks at the Marshall Plan as an example of this. The United States as a country put their efforts and spending into Europe to revive them and ensure that the free institutions can exist. This aided American industries and also set the tone for other aid afterward. Brand offers many other examples of this collective ambitiousness; the Great Society, and Bretton Woods are just a few of them. Brand points out that these were goals to make other nations envious of America. However, as Brand sees it, this has not been the way of the country since then. Brand discusses how American dreams in the