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spaces and exchanges : the American Dream

What is the American dream?

The American dream is the notion that the American social, economic, and political system makes success possible for every individual. Someone who manages to achieve their version of the American dream is said to be “living the dream”.

Many people criticize the idea of the American dream because they say that it is impossible for everyone to be able to fulfill their dreams – there are still inequalities in class, race, religion and ethnicity preventing people from “living the dream”.

The idea of the American dream is older than the USA itself – it dates back to the 1600s, when people began to have hopes for what was a new and largely unexplored continent to European immigrants. People dreamt of owning land and establishing a prosperous business and hoped that this would make them happier.

Today’s the definition of the American dream is much different. Most people nowadays hope that they will get married, have two children and live in a three-bedroom traditional home. Rather than looking for great wealth or success, people hope to avoid poverty or loneliness.

Improve your listening comprehension!

You can listen to people talking about what the American dream is here

You can watch a political ad talking about the American dream here

You can watch a BBC report about the American dream here

You can listen to different people talking about the American dream on the Academie de Paris website

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