America historically owns the reputation of being the land of opportunity, and for generations immigrants have fled to the United States to experience the freedom and equality our government lays claim to. At the root of this reputation is the American Dream, the belief that with hard work anyone can succeed based solely on his or her merits. While definitions of success vary, the American Dream defines it as the ability to become a "self-made man," thereby rising to a more-than-comfortable state of living. The American Dream is believed to be blind to race, sex, or socio-economic status and at a first glance, seems to be almost Utopian. Conversely, repeated examples and statistics of the lower-classes, those continually facing the harsh
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Even Ken Hamblin, an advocator of the American Dream, pointed out the importance of parental involvement, "I have never believed-because I was never told…that I could never get the fullest measure of opportunity in America" (Hamblin 381). The importance of parental motivation is key in raising a child with confidence and inspiration to accomplish their American Dream. Without it, many children are unable to defeat the remaining obstacles that stand in the way of success.
Even though many Americans are proud of the free-trade economic structure in the United States, capitalist policy is only successful in further widening the gap between rich and poor, preventing the lower-class from attaining their American Dream. The American Dream was founded on the backs of small business-owners and farmers who at one time had the ability to become self-made men, but as Stephen Cruz pointed out in his interview with Studs Terkel, "It's getting so big. The small-business venture is not there anymore. Business has become too big to influence" (339). Because the capitalist economic structure supports private ownership and growth and opposes government intervention to prevent it, companies have grown big enough to have the characteristics of monopolies. Due to this, small companies or farmers cannot