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The Great Gatsby

  • Date Submitted: 12/16/2010 12:54 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.1 
  • Words: 3377
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Traditionally, Americans have sought to realise the American dream of success, fame and wealth through thrift and hard work. However, the industrialisation of the 19th and 20th centuries began to erode the dream, replacing it with a philosophy of "get rich quick". A variety of seductive but elusive strategies have evolved, and today the three leading ways to instant wealth are large-prize television game shows, big-jackpot state lotteries and compensation lawsuits. In this article,  Matthew Warshauer, Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, examines why so many Americans are persuaded to seek these easy ways to their dream.
|How does one achieve the American Dream?  The answer undoubtedly depends upon one’s definition of the   |
|Dream, and there are many from which to choose.  John Winthrop envisioned a religious paradise in a     |
|"City upon a Hill."  Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of racial equality. [1]   Both men yearned for what|
|they perceived as perfection.  Scholars have recognized widely varying conceptions of these quests for   |
|American excellence.[2]  One component of the American Dream seems, however, to be fairly consistent:   |
|the quest for money.  Few will deny that Americans are intently focused on the “almighty dollar.”  In a |
|society dedicated to capitalism and the maxim that, “the one who dies with the most toys wins,” the     |
|ability to purchase a big house and a nice car separates those who are considered successful from those |
|who are not.[3]  Yet the question remains, how does one achieve this success?  How is the Dream         |
|realized?  For many Americans the formula is one of instant, albeit elusive, gratification.  Rather than|
|adhering to a traditional work ethic, far too many Americans are pinning their hopes on what they       |
|perceive as “easy” money.  This article focuses on three phenomena in contemporary American society that|
|have successfully captured the quest for the...

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