Who hasn’t heard about it? “The American dream”. Its creed: nothing is impossible, who wants can! A dream based on people’s hope of a better life, a brighter future; on the faith that anyone who has the willpower and works hard enough can enhance his living-standard. Put in other words: anybody’s life is susceptible to become a tale of rags to riches. This faith is somethingmuch anchored to US-American society. It is written in the Declaration of Independence itself: “all men are created equal”, are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
But where does this dream, this strong, anchored faith comes from?
The American dream is based on the myth about the foundation of the United Stateswhich is linked to its history and has been passed on to subsequent generations.
First of all, to understand why the United States of America could become what they are today, it is crucial to be aware of the immensity of that territory: 9 363 123 km² and its most often fertile nature.
The United States of America already existed before being discovered by the European.
The territory was at thattime populated by tribes (Apaches, Sioux, Cheyenne,…) who came from Asia through the Bering Strait. They were about 2 millions when the European arrived. But 90% of these Amerindian, wrongly named Indian by Christophe Colomb who thought to have reached the Indian coast, disappeared during the first years of colonization. During the 16th century, beginning of the European colonization, the powerfulkingdom of Spain took possession of Middle America as well as of a considerable part of South America. During the 17th and 18th centuries, North America was mainly colonized by the French and the British. The main reason why those colonists left Europe behind was because of religious persecutions. They sought asylum in America where they hoped to be free to practice their own religion. In additionto religious persecutions, political as well as economical factors were a triggering point in colonialism. After a seven years long war which opposed the British to the French –a war about the governance of North America- emerges under the soldiers a feeling of nationalism which would be in contradiction with their colonial status. In 1773, takes place the Boston Tea Party, a rebellion againstthe Britain Crown who wanted to impose taxes (to pay off the costs of the war) but did not allow representation of the colonies in Parliament. As a direct result, the independence of the thirteen colonies was declared on the 4th of July 1776 in Philadelphia where they become the United States of America. Since then, the United States have grown up to one of the most powerful nations in the world!1886, the Statute of Liberty was built and the masses came: for millions of immigrants who disembarked in the second half of the 19th century, the metropolis by the Hudson River became a place of hope and chances. Driven by the will to survive and mercilessly competition, they unleash together with the indigenous people, a unique dynamic which is made of the strength of capitalism, of creativity andoften of megalomania. In three centuries, the pioneers have become world leaders; in terms of liberty, entrepreneurship, consumption, mentality. They overcame the even hardest crises -to mention but a few: the Civil War (1860), the Wall Street Crash (1929), the 11th of September 2001,…
This is how US-History is perceived by its nation. People from all over the world came and still come toAmerica with the same self-awareness of those pioneers. This is something firmly rooted in their minds and constitutes the basis of the “American dream”. No wonder when you consider the number of exceptions which prove the rule! Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Pierre Omidyar the founder of E-Bay, but also numerous people in the field of arts.
One of the most recent examples of it: Barack Obama. When...