Introduction

What is the American Dream? This notion of the “American Dream” changes across the country and as time progresses. Looking back, the American dream used to represent an idea of leaving a homeland and finding something better in a young country. Over time it evolved into the idea of America being a place that one could thrive, becoming anything they wanted to be. A recent survey by Credit.com says that today, many see the American Dream as being debt free.

Crossing Ellis Island.

Crossing Ellis Island.


Photo by New York Times

In the 1950’s, the middle class in America thrived. They could buy their own homes, make a decent living, own cars, and support their family. This was a time when wages were competitive and purchasing large items was possible without going into debt.

Family in front of their home, 1949

Family in front of their home, 1949

Photo by Life Magazine

Today, many look at the American Dream as being debt free. It has evolved over time, as we will see through the lives of Robert Ripley and the Kennedy Dynasty, fast-forwarding to today, and the lives of average Americans such as myself.