The American Dream

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The "American Dream" is a constantly evolving concept that attempts to encapsule the ideals of a nation. The Dream's roots are bound in a young nation's grappling with the frontier; the Dream at first was the belief that lands to the West would promise prosperity, personal property, and liberty. In more modern times, the Dream assumed social and economic advancement. A simple version of the Dream would be that each generation would have it better than the generation before. In the 21st century, the Dream began to require homeownership and espoused social mobility. As the middle class shrinks and social mobility slows, how does that affect the American Dream? What is that Dream today?

Unit 1 - The American Dream Overview (PDF)

Unit 1 - The American Dream PowerPoint Slides (PDF)



Video Clips

Suggested/Selected Resources: Books & Films

  • The Working Poor: Invisible in America (David Shipler)
  • Poverty in America: A Handbook (John Iceland)
  • So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America (Peter B. Edelman)
  • A People’s History of Poverty in America (Stephen Pimpare)
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty (Ruby K. Payne)
  • One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All (Mark Rank)
  • Nickel and Dimed: On NOT Getting By in America (Barbara Ehrenreich)
  • The End of Poverty (film)
  • American Winter (documentary)
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