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American Dream Essay: Structure, Outline, Sample, and Topics

The American Dream is a recurring controversial topic in modern society. Individuals have developed different arguments to deconstruct what is the American Dream essay in the context of day-to-day life. In the academic setting, learners that engage in this discourse hold the weight of the proper expression of their arguments. A structured essay is analyzed with a focus on the introduction, main body, and conclusion of the five-paragraph essay. The process of topic selection, outline development, and structured writing is exemplified using an essay titled, “The Promise of the American Dream.” Recommendations for narrow scoped topics for exploring the concept are provided as a starting point for students.

Overview

In contemporary discourse, there is much controversy over the meaning of the American Dream. Basically, people hold different positions on multiple aspects of the concept in their essays and research papers. During the schooling years, it is important to acquire knowledge. Also, young minds benefit significantly from reflecting on the influence of their recently acquired knowledge on their position regarding controversial topics. Upon completing the reflection essay process, the expression of one’s newly defined position is the next step. An essay on the American Dream is presented to introduce the readers to the basic principles behind the concept. Moreover, the structure of a five-paragraph essay is explored with the support of an outline and a sample essay.

American Dream essay

What Is the American Dream Essay?

1. General Description

The American Dream is a widely known concept, but there is no definition that can be identified as a correct, comprehensive, and precise. Basically, freedom and opportunity are the most critical aspects of the essay on the American Dream. In this case, freedoms are essential to the idea of achieving goals. It because these freedoms provide an individual with the space to live freely without any oppression from their peers or the government. Moreover, equal access to opportunity allows each individual to pursue happiness and prosperity regardless of the social class, gender, race, and other social or cultural factors that stratify society. Therefore, this concept may be defined as a set of beliefs that explain the experience of life that many people are expected to have in an ideal situation, where their freedoms are protected, and no opportunity barriers exist.

2. Unique Experiences

People are born into families that provide them with a unique starting point for their pursuit of desired goals. For example, the financial capability, level of education, and cultural beliefs of an individual’s parents define the foundation on which a person begins to achieve desired goals. As a result, all people may be pursuing the same ideas when writing essays. In turn, it is not a level playing field because some individuals may find themselves in better circumstances than others. Furthermore, it is differentiated at a personal level because individuals with relatively similar starting points may have distinct outcomes. Based on this perspective, it is highly unlikely that any two individuals can attest to going through identical experiences when writing an essay.

3. Belief Systems

Besides the circumstances of the starting points, an individual’s belief system plays a significant role in their strategy of achieving desired goals. For instance, happiness and prosperity are broad terms that have contrasting meanings for individuals because there is no standardized scale for measuring happiness or prosperity. Moreover, one person may consider owning a car and house to be a sign of prosperity. In contrast, another person may believe that providing his or her children with a college education to be prosperity. Hence, these beliefs are imposed on desires goals, which results in variations in the meaning of the concept for each individual to be covered in an essay. In turn, desires goals affected to a large extent by an individual’s beliefs regarding the things that make them happy or prosperous.

Topic Selection for American Dream Essays

1. Challenges of Topic Selection

The American Dream is a concept that people can examine from a variety of perspectives, which makes the selection of an essay topic for an American Dream paper quite challenging. During the selection of an essay topic, it is essential to remember that no point of view is more superior or correct than another. In this case, the weight of the claim proposed in the American Dream argumentative essay is dependent on the writer’s ability to explain a position logically and convincingly. Moreover, in the presentation of the argument in the essay, it is important to adequately consider competing counterarguments that may arise in the audience’s minds when writing essays. In turn, the failure to evaluate counterarguments critically may undercut the authority of the author, especially when writing for an academic audience.

2. Solution

Equally important, writers should select a topic that has a link with their personal experiences. For instance, an argument concerning the essay about the American Dream gains a sense of authenticity when writers discuss an issue that resonates with their beliefs. It is essential because some passion is embedded in the essay. In this case, as a starting point for identifying the essay topic, writers may identify a “main concept” under review, for example, equal opportunity. Based on the main concept, writers can think through their life experiences and single out events that they consider invaluable in the position taken concerning the main concept (see the example of a simple brainstorming template). Finally, writers should settle on the essay topic that is specific and can be argued out entirely within the constraints of the essay requirements.

3. Example of a Simple Brainstorming Template

  • State the main concept.
  • How has it affected you?
  • How has it affected other people in your life?
  • Do you think the events mentioned above are in line with the American Dream?
  • Specify the issue.
  • Describe the ideal situation.
  • Can the situation be improved?

American Dream Essay Outline

Introduction (Approximately 10% of the Word Count)

1. Hook

  • It is the first statement in the introductory paragraph.
  • The statement should capture the attention of the reader, for example, a unique fact about the topic.

2. Overview of the Topic

  • It comprises of two or more sentences.
  • The statements should contain adequate detail for the reader to understand the thesis statement.

3. Thesis Statement

  • It is a single statement that appears at the end of the introductory paragraph.
  • The statement provides an answer to the essay prompt in the form of a single argument, which summarises the main evidence or rationale presented in the main body.

Main Body (Approximately 80% of the Word Count)

The creation of paragraphs in this section is based on the separation of ideas to ensure that each paragraph presents one original idea. In this case, each paragraph in this section must follow the sandwich rule, which dictates the organization of paragraph elements:

  • Topic sentence – States the main idea for that paragraph.
  • Evidence – Provides the information that is crucial to the paragraph’s idea.
  • Evaluation of evidence – Explains the relevance of the evidence and offers an interpretation of the evidence.
  • Transition statement – Summarises the paragraph and links it to the thesis statement or the next paragraph.

Conclusion (Approximately 10% of the Word Count)

1. Restating the Main Argument

  • The first statement in the paragraph should repeat the main argument presented in the thesis statement.
  • It should not contain the same words as the thesis statement, but keywords can be reused.

2. Summary

  • Provide a detailed overview of the main points of the essay logically.
  • Demonstrate the value of the main points in answering the essay prompt.

Five-Paragraph American Dream Essay Outline Sample

Introduction/Paragraph 1

Hook: Besides the differences in the American populations, they are similar because they pursue the same dream.

Overview of the topic: Outline some of the differences in the American population.

Thesis statement: Creating equal opportunities allows individuals to achieve upward mobility.

Main Body

Paragraph 2:

Topic sentence: Breaking down social mobility and its quantification.

Evidence: Definition and measures of social mobility.

Evaluation of evidence: Illustrate how upward social mobility is achieved while referring to the measures.

Transition statement: Introduces the need for self-improvement for social mobility to occur.

Paragraph 3:

Topic sentence: Opportunity is a requirement for social mobility.

Evidence: The role of education in equipping an individual to utilize opportunities.

Evaluation of evidence: Demonstrate the link between education, access to jobs, and the ability to improve an individual’s quality of life.

Transition statement: Recognise that there are socially constructed limitations on the accessibility of opportunities.

Paragraph 4:

Topic sentence: Discriminative practices affect an individual’s access to opportunities for social mobility.

Evidence: Identify some forms of discrimination and explain the occurrence of discriminative practices.

Evaluation of evidence: Describe the value of government and organization’s role in managing discriminative practices using policies that uphold equality.

Transition statement: Stress the centrality of equality in the argument for opportunity access and upward mobility.

Conclusion/Paragraph 5:

Restating the main argument: Emphasise the importance of equality in securing opportunities for upward mobility and the attainment of the American Dream.

Summary: Allude to the measures of social mobility, the interaction between discriminative practices and opportunities, and the relief provided by policies on equality.

Sample of Five-Paragraph American Dream Essay

Topic: The Promise of the American Dream

Introduction

Although we are different, we share a single dream. In this case, the American population is composed of people of different genders, races, education levels, religions, and disability statuses. Nonetheless, each American is entitled to the opportunity to make themselves better regardless of the underlying differences. Thus, the American Dream thesis statement is that it is founded on the promise of equal opportunity for upward social mobility.

Social Mobility

Social mobility is a multidimensional concept. It can be assessed using a variety of measures that attempt to quantify the change occurring in an individual’s life. For example, the ability of an individual to move along the social hierarchy may be described as social mobility. In turn, there are different measures of social mobility. However, each one is focused on a specific aspect of average Americans’ livelihood:

  • health status – the susceptibility of an individual to diseases,
  • education – an individual’s highest level of education,
  • homeownership – the capability of an individual to acquire permanent housing.

Upward social mobility implies that an individual can improve their position in the social hierarchy through improving their performance on any of the measures of social mobility. Therefore, upward social mobility is the desired outcome of a successful pursuit of desired goals because it suggests some form of self-improvement.

Opportunity

The opportunity for upward mobility is vital in pursuing the desired goals. Basically, access to opportunity is facilitated by some factors, for example, access to quality education. In this case, an individual that has attended school and acquired the necessary skills has a higher likelihood of securing a job. If individuals acquire jobs, it becomes easier to secure health insurance, buy homes, and improve the quality of life for their families. Moreover, individuals can only attain what they want if they are provided access to basic education, which prepares them to maximize any opportunities. However, it is difficult for an average individual to pursue opportunities without the government’s efforts to increase the ease of access to basic needs.

Equality Policies

Many barriers affect an average American’s ability to access positive opportunities, and it manifests in the form of discriminative practices in society. In this case, discrimination in society may occur based on a variety of issues, for example, gender, disability, religion, and race. Basically, personal biases create ideological differences regarding superiority in the social hierarchy. It pushes individuals to deny others access to opportunities and the necessary skills to exploit those opportunities. Moreover, state and organizational policies against discrimination are created and enforced to maintain equality among Americans. These laws serve to eliminate the barriers that exist between hardworking people and the American Dream. Consequently, equality among individuals ensures that all individuals can take advantage of opportunities regardless of their gender, disability status, religion, race, and other social differences that tend to create boundaries between social groups.

Conclusion

Equality is crucial in the pursuit of the American Dream because it provides each individual with the opportunity to move up the social hierarchy. In this case, people can access upward social mobility by using various measures, which quantify an individual’s quality of life. Moreover, opportunities may exist, but individuals need to be assisted in developing themselves to a level where they can utilize the available opportunities. Hence, equality policies are useful in curtailing the power of discriminative practices in reinforcing social mobility barriers.

American Dream Essay Topics

  1. The origin of the American Dream.
  2. Intergenerational differences in the definition of the American Dream.
  3. The American Dream in contemporary music.
  4. Does society still believe in the American Dream?
  5. Defining the American Dream through the racial lens.
  6. Individualism and the American Dream.
  7. The influence of unrestricted surveillance on the American Dream.
  8. Health care policies and the American Dream.
  9. The impacts of globalization on the American Dream.
  10. The rise of right-wing populism and the future of the American Dream.

Summing up on the American Dream Essay

The capacity of a person to participate in the discourse on the controversial essay topic nurtured through the continuous practice of structured essay writing. Basically, the concept may be approached from a different perspective, depending on the individual’s beliefs and personal experiences. Nonetheless, the written presentation of these points of view is achieved through the use of structured essays. The five-paragraph American Dream essay examined in this paper is a useful tool for the expression of any argument on the topic.