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Where We Are And Where We Came From

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This paper’s purpose is to elaborate on how racism and the “American Dream” have helped shape United States history from 1492 and 1877. First, this paper intends to define racism and the “American Dream”; second explain the historical origins of these ideas and, third, describe how they helped shape the United States history from 1492 to 1877. In conclusion this paper will discuss how studying history helps us understand the present “state of beings.”

Let’s begin with racism, which dates back to as far as humans can remember. “It may be defined as the hatred of one person by another -- or the belief that another person is less than human -- because of skin color, language, customs, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person. It has influenced wars, slavery, the formation of nations, and legal codes” One of the most known acts of racism was the enslavement of Africans in the new world. This racism was a result of the racist belief that black Africans were less human than white Europeans.

As stated before, racism is not something that people thought of in the last ten years, it is an ongoing theme that has been flowing through the story of the United States. Starting from the enslavement of black Africans, and moving along to the days of when African Americans were separated from white Americans even though they lived in the same country and walked the same streets. Racism is seen all over the world. Hitler killed close to six million Jews during World War II due to the fact that he claimed that Germans were superior. He said that Jews polluted Europe and began “cleaning” it up. “Racism serves both to discriminate against ethnic minorities and to maintain advantages and benefits for White Americans.” This is what Mark Feinberg, PhD, stated about this issue and most people would agree.

Secondly, it is important to know what the “American Dream” really is. The term was first seen in the book, The Epic of America written by James Truslow Adams in 1931.

"The American Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret

adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social

order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

Many people say that the “American Dream” has become the pursuit of material happiness. For example, people try to get high paying jobs so they can work more hours and earn more money to buy bigger cars and bigger houses. Although many look for a new definition of the term, in order to show that what is really meant by it, is living a simple yet fulfilling life.

Both racism and the “American Dream” have unintentionally shaped the United States through out its existence. Also both

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