American Dream - James Truslow AdamsJames Truslow Adams invented the term American Dream in 1931. He used it to embody the idea that with enough hard work and luck, anybody could achieve what they wanted in life.
What we take for granted in modern times was quite unique to many people brought up in the caste driven societies of the 1700s and 1800s. Back then, if you were born to a family of maids and butlers, you became a maid or a butler. If your father was a carpenter, you grew up and learned how to build. If you were a woman, your choices were even more limited. You found a man to marry, and that was it.
As much as people find flaws with the current American Dream, it is still a vastly more equal system than previous centuries had. Instead of 10-20 with 90% of the money (the royalty and nobles) and the rest of the people with pretty much no money, and doomed to stay in that situation, our current society allows people to move. They can change locations, change jobs, change social groups, all with relatively little trouble. In the old days, a noble would never be seen having friends that were of a "lower station". In modern days, what matters is what a person is, not who their parents were.
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