The American dream and the self made man
America, discovered by Christopher Colombus, is a continent to which countless people from all over the world have migrated in the hope of fulfilling theirdream of a better life.
The English Puritans leader, John Winthrop, urged his listeners to follow the laws of God in order to form a proper society and obtain God’s grace.
This vision becamepolitical in the Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
AnziaYezierska: “In America you say what you feel – you can voice your thoughts in the open streets without fear; in America is a home for everybody. The land is your land.”
The American dream whereeveryone could strike it rich attracts large numbers of immigrants. Based on the Protestant work ethic, moving “from rags to riches” became a cornerstone (fondement) of American society.
BenjaminFranklin: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a Man healthy, wealthy and wise”
The success stories of self made men keep the dream alive:
o Cornelius VANDERBILT: he left school at the age of11. At the end of his life, he owned several railway lines, ferry boats…
o Andrew CARNEGIE: he improved the military telegraph and created the Carnegie Steel Trust.
o John D. ROCKEFELLER:he started as bookkeeper (comptable). Then, he launched the Standard Oil Company.
o Meyer GUGGENHEIM: he imported embroidery and needlework. At 60, he created a smelting company and amassed afortune.
o Abraham LINCOLN (1809-1865) is a case in point (bon exemple). He moved from the log-cabin (cabane en bois) to the White House. The son of an uneducated frontiersman, his totalschooling did not amount to more than one year. He worked at numerous odd jobs (petits boulots), mastering the English language by reading any available book. He studied law, then practiced as a lawyer...
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