Once upon a time, the American Dream was defined by opportunity and upward mobility. The belief was that through hard work and perseverance, anyone can achieve success regardless of their background. However, in the post-World War II era, the American Dream shifted from economic opportunity to owning a home in the suburbs.
The rise of suburban homeownership began in the 1950s, as returning soldiers sought to escape the crowded, noisy cities and buy a piece of their own land. The government supported this trend by offering low-interest mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA). The loans were affordable and allowed people with lower incomes to own a home.
Suburbs promised a better quality of life; clean air, open space, and peace and quiet. They also promised safety, as many people felt that living in a big city was dangerous. For the first time, homeownership became attainable for many Americans, and as a result, suburbs began to boom.
As more people moved to the suburbs, it changed the landscape of America. Shopping centers, schools, and office buildings began to crop up, and the suburbs quickly became a bustling hub of activity. As people began to move to the suburbs, they created a new community, where you could work, shop, and live in the same area. The suburbs not only provided a place to live but also a social life, providing opportunities for entertainment, sports, and social gatherings.
Over time, the American Dream evolved from providing a better quality of life to the suburbs to providing a better life through home ownership. Houses became bigger, fancier, and more expensive. The bigger the house, the better the life.
The American Dream has moved away from what it was originally intended to represent; an equal opportunity for everyone. Now, it is about owning a home, specifically, owning a home in the suburbs. However, homeownership is not the only path to the American Dream, and it should not be the only measure of success.
Redefining the American Dream to something more inclusive is essential to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of success. The dream should be about creating opportunities for all, regardless of their background, skin color, or socioeconomic status. Although owning a home may still be an important part of the American Dream, it should not be the only measure or the end goal.
In conclusion, the rise of suburban homeownership changed the American Dream from economic opportunity to owning a home in the suburbs. However, to create a more inclusive society, we need to redefine the American Dream to include equal opportunities for all. It should be a dream of a fair society, where everyone has access to resources, education, and opportunities, and where success is not measured by how big or expensive a property is. By redefining the dream, we can create a society that values opportunity and fairness above all else.