The American Dream 1. SEVERAL CULTURES MIX 2. 3. ● Born from dreams of empire, Puritan hope and personal visions The dream began in people's hearts (Adams writes about 1940) Disadvantaged colonists sought self-fulfilment in the West - minimized class society, increased prosperity People lived together more - not far apart like in Europe The common dream of empire (liberation from exploitation, freedom, hope and equality) Greater sales interest brought more harvest - benefit to society PURITANS - A REFORMATION OF THE CHURCH - NEW PRINCIPLES The American is a new person, acting according to new principles, with new opinions and ideas. ● ● - Developed with the colonization of America • The Puritans Wanted a New Jerusalem in America No one should stand between man and God - Abolition of the Priest and the Church Hierarchy The hard work that was supposed to improve the economy was founded on faith - it is God- fearing - secularization: separation of church and state • The value of the individual should be protected - the government should serve them AGGREGATION OF POLITICAL IDEAS - AMERICAN REVOLUTION ● The government has no religious reason, but is supposed to protect the rights to life, liberty and property Equality of people was in the foreground • Declaration of Independence Describes American Idealism ● By removing the point of property from human rights, one should show...
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that the rich and the well-born had no advantage "Striving for Happiness" can be interpreted in different ways, dreams could be realized By constantly striving for something better, the American Dream can be realized The core Principles of American Government POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY (VOLKSSOUVERÄNITÄT) People's Sovereignty: The government needs the consent of the people, they serve the people There are majority decisions (Who should represent the country is the decision of the people) The government can be criticized and held accountable for mistakes (The government has bounds) LIMITED GOVERNMENT Not all people are good, so limits have to be set - laws The government must abide by the laws and is not allowed to break them under any circumstances SEPARATION OF POWER (GEWALTENTEILUNG) The government is divided into three areas, which function independently of each other - Legislative branch makes the laws (Senate, House of Representatives) - executive branch carries out the laws (led by president) - judicial branch interprets the laws (headed by Supreme Court) This principle ensures a distribution of power CHECKS AND BALANCES So that no branch gets too much power there is a control system Each branch supervises the other (cannot agree with certain things) and thus has a certain power They review and complement each other FEDERALISM States have joined forces but can make their own decisions There are areas that are determined by the Federal Government beyond national borders The Member States themselves may, however, take their own decisions in matters which concern them. The Declaration of Independence DRAFTED BY THOMAS JEFFERSON 1776 (SYMBOL OF LIBERTY) Proclaims the ideals of freedom, equality and popular sovereignty They wanted to secession from Great Britain - - It explains the importance of human rights and human equality The function of government is to protect these rights and equality The government can be replaced if it misuses its purpose - citizens should be protected What is an American? MICHEL-GUILLAUME JEAN DE CRÈVECOEUR 1770-1775 Gathering of the poor from Europe Europe was marked bei war, hunger and poverty People there didn't feel like part of the country (useless) - only the rich were considered America gave the chance for new laws, a new way of life, a new social system - you were a considered citizen You could achieve more by working more - there were more options, you are rewarded for your hard work In America all cultures have come together - new ways of life Ancient knowledge from different cultures were brought to America - they finish the great circle → The American is a new man who acts upon new principles, after he had to live under terrible circumstances in his old country - Great Depression Economic Crisis 1929 There was an unequal distribution of wealth Banking collapse left many unemployed or low-paid jobs The average wage much by 60 percent ,,The American Dream" JAMES TRUSLOW ADAMS 1931 The term originated in a study of the American dream It is the dream of a country where life is better, richer and more fulfilling - there are options for everyone depending on ability and achievement It's not just a material dream - it's a dream to be recognized for who you are There are no barriers to class society It takes a community life for a rich and fulfilling life and an America where everyone can achieve their dreams To achieve the American Dream, the rich and powerful must take care of society and the poor must seek advancement There must be no egoism, physical comfort or satisfaction with what is - you have to strive for better, want to be a part - The result depends on the interaction of all people There is room for hope and distrust - you have to believe in the dream If the American Dream fails, there is nothing left lacocca: An Autobiography In the quotation from the autobiography "lacocca: an Autobiography" from Lee lacocca, Lee wrote in 1986 about how he fulfilled the American Dream by turning into the celebrity of the American business world. His dream of a better life began with the arrival of his father in New York. He was the first one in his family to become a respected citizen of America. Since then, he and many others have taught him the lesson of working hard to attain his goals. In this way, Lee made the best possible use of his time and combined work with family and free time. The weekends were never replaced by work because his family is important to him. While others have given up their time off from work to achieve the best, he always knew how to use his time wisely. He has never lost sight of goals and has always set himself priorities without being shown it by anyone. Important Icons INDIVIDUALISM - Skepticism about state/church restriction - ensures personal freedom If you work hard you succeed, if you fail it's your own fault Tension between the individual and the community is a key factor THE PURITANS Religious Movement Want religious freedom, not hierarchy They shaped virtue, integrity, education, work, individual freedom and communitarianism Rejects types of amusement and entertainment - How Americans are seen by themselves or others Responsibility for one's own destiny MANIFEST DESTINY John L. O'Sullivan spread the belief that the mission was to democratize the world Declared America the "nation of the future", the mission was to spread and strengthen the faith Justified Territorial Expansion and Imperialism - USA became a mediator in political conflicts FRONTIER Referred to the settlement line that was moving to the West Expansion sets America apart from Europe Need for new boundaries (science, class) The border is kept alive as a myth MELTING POT Description of the United States Individuals of all nations are merged into a new human race African and Native Americans were excluded - Was originally a play against xenophobia at that time – became a common expression MULTICULTURALISM Referred to minority policy Educational problems arose, feminists used the term Excepted people such as gays, lesbians, ethnic minorities challenged traditional supremity Mainstream vs. minority culture More rights for minority groups, but cultural fragmentation - The American Dream: Trying to Capture a Myth The dream can be realized in its own way It is a key concept in American history, society, and culture Hard work improves one's position in life The basic idea remains the same, but America continues to change - From a religious point of view, America represented paradise - harmony with God and nature One should learn from the mistakes of the rest of the world - create a more equitable, more moral society A new classless society - no oppression Everyone has the right to achieve their goals with minimal government control - the government should rather support The Statue of Liberty and the flag are symbols of freedom California "Sunshine State" and Hollywood reflect material success → None of this reflects reality, it is an idealized picture. There are always dreams that turn into nightmares, but the American dream is a yardstick against which failures can be measured Example: war in Vietnam. They believed they were fighting for freedom and democracy, but this only turned out to be a defeat The American Nightmare Racism, violence, different opportunities, treated different Bad health care system School system (high loans, psychological pressure, not the same chances) - Vietnam War (60.000 soldiers died, destroyed families and lives Refugees/immigrants: same chances just for people with money/education, bad job → no money → no education leads to crime