The American Dream

The American Dream The American dream. It consists of a family, house, cars, and other luxury items. How did it become the American dream? Why do we feel so compelled to pursue it? The reason is because we, the American public, have been convinced through advertising to acquire it. It is a very powerful way of persuasion. Advertising affects us so powerfully that it sometimes sets our views of society for us. We constantly absorb images of families, houses, and cars through commercials and magazine ads.

It persuades us so strongly to the point that it can alter our social consciousness. Alter it to the point that we feel that the American dream is no longer a luxury, it has become a necessity. Today there is almost no way to escape advertisements. The radio, television, and magazine ads make sure of that. The more we view these advertisements, the more we are persuaded toward the American dream. With a television in almost every household and magazines an arm=s length away, advertisers basically have us on our knees.

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We must digest advertisers= views so frequently that you would think it was necessary to sustain life. Advertising=s main goal is to persuade. They want us to see the American way through their eyes. They tell us what to eat, drink, wear, drive, and think. Advertisers start this form of brainwashing on us at a very early age.

They lay the groundwork of ideals early on because it is easy to persuade a child. Now, with the two income family, children are left to interpret not only advertisements but television programming as well without supervision. Children are forced to make their own evaluations and most of the time they go along with the views of what they see. How many times do children want something because they saw it on television? With the unending viewing of shows and advertisements who could blame them. By age twenty, Americans have viewed an estimated half a million commercials.

Now that is a major amount of influencing on a young person. This is exactly what advertisers hope to accomplish with young people. They want them to associate advertisements to purchasing. ! It starts out with toys and leads to the American dream. One day they want a matchbox car and a few years later they want a real Porsche.

Do not all boys want a fancy car? Do not most girls dream of living in a big house? Is this a coincidence or a carefully thought out scheme by advertisers? Now, how is it exactly that advertisers get us to want the American dream. They do this by channeling into one of our most basic instincts, emotions. Along with emotions, advertisers want to make you feel three other things: connection, imagination, and desire. A connection between the product and a feeling is important. They also want you to imagine yourself in the experience with the merchandise. A strong desire for the product is another effect that the advertiser=s want you to feel.

Take for instance any food commercial. They connect the food to a feeling which is hunger. They want you to imagine yourself eating the product. This produces a strong desire for the food. Advertisers hope that this will produce a sale.

The stronger the feeling for these topics, the more likely you are to trust and believe that you need them. These feelings are supposed to affect you at a subconscious level. They are not exactly leveling with you. But would you buy something from someone if you! knew they were deceiving you. Why is it that most of us want a family? Well, for the past thirty years we have seen countless families in commercials. Advertisers usually show these families as fun-loving and happy. The message they send out is that a family is healthy.

That having a family equals happiness. All of which spell the American dream. If you do not have a family, you are not a complete person and that is not American. Is this not evident through societies silent discouragement of single parents? Do we not think that there is something wrong with someone if they are not married by the age of thirty-five? Advertisers use this belief that they have passed down to lure the consumer in. They stress to the consumer that if they love their family and want them to be happy then they will buy this product. After all, isn=t your family worth it? This in turn emits a strong feeling of guilt toward the consumer.

Michelin Tires is a good example of a commercial that does this effectively. The commercial has! images of babies in these tires looking innocent and happy. They then proceed to tell you that the babies deserve these tires, so that they will be safe. Their slogan Abecause so much is riding on these [email protected] send such a powerful message to families. A happy and safe family is part of what the American dream is all about.

Michelin uses this strong ideal to get consumers to buy the tires. Using the American dream to make consumers feel guilty is an effective method of advertising. Well, no one ever said that advertisers were ethical. Luxury cars are another niche in the American dream. When people think of the American way of life a fancy car almost always comes to mind.

This must be true since America is the largest purchasers of luxury automobiles. Car companies have some of the best persuasive commercials and magazine ads around. Advertisers use various techniques to make the public believe they need this certain car. They portray that the driving of their car is equal to total euphoria. You will be surrounded by extreme comfort and safety. Driving this car will be like nothing you have ever experienced before.

Their company slogans say it all. BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine. Cadillac – Creating a Higher Standard. Lincoln – It=s What a Luxury Car Should Be. The list goes on and on.

Lexus is one company that portrays their cars this way. They show images of their car driving down the road. There are no distractions, no noise, or problems while driving this car. This implies that your experience with ! this car is simply perfection. So fits their slogan AThe relentless pursuit of [email protected] Infiniti is another good example of this type of advertising.

Infiniti basically uses the same type of images but delivers their message bluntly. In one commercial they say AYou only live once, so isn=t time you got [email protected] This is a very strong and offensive statement. It is saying that until you drive this car your life is not complete. All luxury car companies express this in one way or another.

They coerce us think that this car will make our lives better. After all, making our lives better is part of the American dream. What we should be thinking is why we need a certain type of car to measure our value of life? The American dream is part of a larger image that we are being sold. It is the American image. Does the saying Aproud to be an [email protected] ring a bell. Not only do advertisers use this as a selling point, the government also uses this against the American public. The government fills our heads of what a model American should be.

The theme that they sent out is that all Americans should be patriotic. This includes supporting the government=s views on foreign policy. If the government feels that the public may not agree, that is where advertising and persuasion fit in. They may not tell the whole truth in order to uphold an image that the public will accept. Along with that they will show images that will provoke feelings of patriotism. Guilt is also used to support their actions.

To not agree with the governments actions could be considered un-American. Never are all these traits more visible than in the time of war. That is because most of the time America is not directly involv! ed. The government then must make us see that we belong there. At the first sign of trouble, it seems that America is the first one there.

The Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War are examples of this. Why does America have to keep the balance of power in check throughout the world? I believe that the government has been sold the American image. It has been sold this through our past leaders which upheld these beliefs. This has forced America to become the unofficial big brother to the world. Advertising and persuasion are powerful tools that can set views for millions and should be recognized as such.

That has been proven by the way we perceive society and government. It has set our standards of happiness through the American dream and told us what the criteria for a model American is. We must realize how much advertising and persuasion affect us. Do not just accept what we see and hear, question it. Sadly, many of us have gone too far down that road. We must awaken ourselves to our surroundings or otherwise be controlled by them.

So, next time your watching an advertisement or some governmental issue, don=t forget that you have a brain. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

The American Dream

It is the intent of this paper to prove that the “American Dream” can
best be explained as a “ciity upon a hill.” “Ciity upon a hill” meaning
being above and superior over those below. The Civil War, the imperialistic
race of the 19th century, the Korean War, the KKK, and the Gulf War are all
examples of the “American Dream” of superiority playing a part in American
History. Each American has a different idea of this superiority, but
nonetheless strive to achieve it, whatever it may be in.

The Civil War which split the United States, was a clash of two
aspects of approaching the “American Dream” in a young America. Both sides
felt their idea’s and philosophies were superior to those of the opposing
side and therefore would benefit the country more and make it superior.

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Both North and South wanted to better the country to have it achieve the
“American Dream”. Unfortunately, each side had a different perspective on
how to approach it. Slavery was a major issue, the North against, the
South pro. The disagreement on slavery lead to difficulty in the issue of
Westward expansion. Both agreed to it, but whether to admit them as free
or slave states was where the split occurred. The compromise of 1850
stated that California enters free, and New Mexico and Utah decided on
their own which is giving them more state rights in which the South heavily
supported. This compromise did not satisfy each side fully. The issue of
State rights intensified by the issue of slavery because the Southern
states felt they had the right to decide on their own about Slavery without
Federal intervention. It seems the Southern states felt that the “American
dream” was out of their reach because they felt powerless and inferior with
the Central government. When the American revolution was fought to break
from Britain, the Southern States thought they would be treated as
sovereign and free. With the State’s limited power, they felt as if the
Federal government would become a monarchy. The Northern States wanted the
“American dream” achieved for the whole country to be industrial,
anti-slavery, and very federalist. Upon these institutions they planned to
make the U.S a superior nation in the world. The South wanted to achieve
the same ultimate goal for the U.S but with agricultural, pro- slavery, and
states sovereignty institutions. These are the differences between both
sides in achieving “the American Dream.” In order to resolve the conflict
of interests, North and South had to go to war to prove superiority thus
proving which side is “the ciity upon the hill” in which the losing side
During the time of Imperialism in the 19th century, the U.S wanted to
expand worldwide and strive for the lead in the “imperialistic race.” In
1871, the U.S and Canada signed the Washington treaty meaning that the U.S
recognized Canada as an independent dominion. Any schemes to forcefully
annex Canada and to unite the North American continent under the U.S flag
had been rejected. The U.S could not expand any further in North America
and had to look at other parts of the world for expansion. At the time,
there were many other nations looking to expand its empire such as Britain
and Germany. Some Southern expansionists saw Cuba as an interest because
it could have possibly been used as a slave territory. Because Northerners
were highly against slavery, the plan was dropped. After the Civil War,
Secretary of State Seward had negotiated a treaty to purchase the virgin
Islands from Denmark, but the senate rejected this treaty. They were not
purchased until 1917. In 1859, the U.S annexed the Midway Islands in the
South Pacific, and half the Samoan Islands; the other half belonging to
Germany. Hawaii, another Pacific island, had always been important to the
U.S. It served as an important base for trade with Japan and China. When
the U.S annexed Hawaii in 1893 after a coup, to justify it, the U.S claimed
it was an important strategic military foothold. They also claimed that the
inferior Hawaiian natives were incapable of self government, and that it
was in their best interests. After the annexation of Hawaii, and later the
Philippines in 1899, it seemed clear the U.S was relentless in becoming the
most powerful imperialistic nation. It is this idea of expansion thus
gaining power and superiority over other nations that proves the “American
Dream”/”Ciity upon a hill” being about superiority.

The invasion of South Korea by North Korea was the opportunity the U.S
needed to invade and de-communize North Korea thus causing China to
intervene therefore justifying the possible invasion of China. When World
War II ended, the U.S and U.S.S.R agreed to occupy Korea. The U.S occupied
south of the 38th parallel, and the U.S.S.R North. Both sides wanted Korea
to be united, the U.S.S.R wanted it under communism, and the U.S
capitalism. They were split. North became communist, South became
capitalist. South Korea was recognized by the U.S and the United Nations
while North Korea was recognized by the Soviet Union and its allies. There
were many tensions between the Koreas. On June 1950, the North Korean army
with Soviet weapons invaded South Korea, in an attempt to take it over.

The United States, taking great interest, appealed to the U.N to condemn
the invasion and to send forces to liberate South Korea. The Soviet
representative to the U.N was not present to veto due to the fact that the
Soviet Union was protesting against the refusal to allow China to enter the
U.N. When the U.N forces under U.S command liberated South Korea, U.S
president Truman ordered that the forces go beyond the initial mission of
liberation, and invade North Korea. As the U.N forces advanced deeper into
North Korea, China warned them to withdraw. The forces refused and on
November 1950 were attacked by 200,000 Chinese soldiers. The U.N forces
faced with a fresh enemy, retreated south of the 38th parallel. In order
to defeat the Chinese forces, Gen. MacArthur, commander of the forces,
requested that China itself be attacked. Truman rejected the idea with the
fear of getting the U.S.S.R directly involved thus setting the stage for
World War III. The Korean War was fought to get into North Korea for these
main reasons: To decrease the Soviet influence in the time of Cold war
thus increasing U.S influence, and to get into China which has the largest
market in the world. MacArthur and Truman both had these objectives in
mind but wanted to approach them differently. MacArthur, after invading
North Korea and setting off the Chinese, wanted to directly attack China.

Truman who wanted no risk of direct intervention by the Soviets, wanted
strictly just to take North Korea and perhaps delay the invasion of China,
since providing North Korea was taken, China is just a doorstep away. The
Korean war clearly showed that the United States was pursuing the “American
Dream” in two ways, one was to gain influence which in the time of the Cold
War meant power. The other was for economic superiority over the rest of
the world with the colossal Chinese market directly bordering coincide what
The Ku Klux Klan, originally formed on December 24 1865 in Pulaski,
Tennessee, did then and does now stand for white supremacy and superiority
in politics, economics and society. Although the klan everywhere fiercely
preaches white supremacy, it focuses its attack on what they consider to be
alien outsiders, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, which it believes
is threatening traditional American ways and values. Despite their beliefs,
they are Americans trying to achieve the “American dream”, being the idea
of a “Ciity upon a hill.” The goal of the KKK has always been to purify
America of all non- whites which they refer to as un-Americans. The KKK
sees themselves as the only real Americans. The idea of a “Ciity upon a
hill” originated with the Puritans and their idea of creating a perfect
society in America which would serve as model for the rest of the World to
follow. The KKK uses this original “American Dream” by interpreting it to
fit their white supremacy mandate. The society they want to create is a
pure white society that the rest of the world could follow. Their mandate
of White supremacy clearly states that the KKK too has an “American Dream”,
they too in their words and actions try to achieve the “Ciity upon a hill”
status. Whether their goals are wrong or right, their efforts to
ultimately make the white race and their traditional American beliefs
superior over what they consider below them, is a clear example of the
American Dream/”Ciity upon a hill” being all about superiority, no matter
The Gulf war showed that no nation should violate the interests of the
United States. After the re-unification of Germany in October 1990, ending
the cold war, a large number of U.S forces were no longer needed.

Conveniently, at the same time, after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, the
U.S had the perfect place to move its forces where they were needed for a
deterrent to Iraq of invading other neighbouring countries. When war broke
out in January 16, 1991, and ended a few months afterwards in April with
Iraq defeated, plans for a Middle East peace conference started
immediately. The defeat of Iraq affirmed the U.S’s total control of the
Middle East. With Iraqi aggression ceased, the U.S wanted to resolve the
Israeli-Arab hostilities to therefore build a new post-cold war Middle East
to meet American interests. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait violated American
interests, with consequences following. The defeat of Iraq deterred other
Middle East nations from violating American interests thus bringing them
together to work out some form of peace that will accommodate the U.S in
the perhaps coming American dominated “New World Order.” The U.S in bring
to parties that hate each other — Arabs and Israelis — to a peace table
for U.S interests shows that the U.S is a superior dominant force in the
World. Its driving force, the idea of the “American Dream” of being a
“Ciity upon a hill.” This means to be the best, to be superior, which the
U.S has clearly shown in the Middle East.

From the birth of America, to America today, the driving force and the
heart of America has always been the “American Dream.” By looking at
America today, the most powerful nation in the world, the dream has
literally become a reality. The United States has always strived to be
superior and it is today the most powerful nation in the world. The United
States right now can not go much farther than it has already reached. If
it tries to go beyond the dream, it could become a nightmare
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