The American Dream encapsulates the dreams and ideals of generations of Americans. There is much debate over exactly which dreams and ideals these are, and the term is often used ironically.
- The American dream is, in part, responsible for a great deal of crime and violence because people that the country owes them not only a living but a good living.
- Psychoanalyst Dr. David Abrahamsen, San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle (November 18th, 1975)
- But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.
- James Truslow Adams introduced the term "American Dream" in his 1931 book The Epic of America (2nd Edition, Greenwood Press, p. 404)
- The American Dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class.
- James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America (2nd Edition, Greenwood Press, p. 405)
- It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.
- I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
- Seeking the invisible through the imagery of the visible, the Americans never can get quite all the way to the end of the American dream.
- Lewis H. Lapham, Money and Class in America,Chapter 1, The Gilded Cage, p. 28
- Do I have to change my name? Will that get me far? / Do I have to lose some weight, am I going to be a star? ... I'm just living out the American Dream / And I just realized that nothing is what it seems.
- American queen is the American Dream / She is a Polish girl in America / Tall, tanned, hot, blonde, called Anya / I asked her, "Why would you wanna be a Hollywood wife?" / "Because I don't wanna end up living in a dive on Vine."
- If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
- Barack Obama, Election victory speech, (4 November 2008)
- I'm Miss American Dream since I was seventeen
- Your remainder is an unjustifiable, egotistical power struggle/ At the expense of the American Dream/ Of the American Dream
- "I hate to say this," said my attorney as we sat down at the Merry-Go-Round Bar on the second balcony, "but this place is getting to me. I think I'm getting the Fear."
"Nonsense," I said. "We came here to find the American Dream, and now that we're right in the vortex you want to quit." I grabbed his bicep and squeezed. "You must realize," I said, "that we've found the main nerve."
"I know," he said. "That's what gives me the Fear."
- Who are these people? These faces! Where do they come from? They look like caricatures of used-car dealers from Dallas. And, sweet Jesus, there are a hell of a lot of them - still screaming around these desert - city crap tables at four thirty on a Sunday morning. Still humping the American Dream, that vision of the Big Winner somehow emerging from the last minute pre-dawn chaos of a stale Vegas casino.
- Look at those cunts on MTV, with their cars and cribs and rings and shit. Is that what being a celebrity means? Look boys and girls, here's BBC. See corpses, rapes, and amputees. What do you think now of the American dream?
- The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now: the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam...
- The American Dream is what seperates our lives from reality. The American Dream for men is nothing more than to have lots of money, to have a terrific woman to marry and live with for the rest of their lives, and to carry out their childhood dream. The American Dream for women is that they would have a good husband, a child or two, a good education, a good job,and a good house to live in.
- We believe that what matters most is not narrow appeals masquerading as values, but the shared values that show the true face of America; not narrow values that divide us, but the shared values that unite us: family, faith, hard work, opportunity and responsibility for all, so that every child, every adult, every parent, every worker in America has an equal shot at living up to their God-given potential. That is the American dream and the American value.
- Senator John Kerry
- Success is somebody else's failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty.
- There are those, I know, who will reply that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right, It is. It is the American dream.
- Archibald MacLeish, debating "national purpose" in 1960.
- We British, we don't have a dream, do we? No, it's because we're wide-awake!
- Al Murray as his character, the Pub Landlord