The American Dream And Social Equality Essay

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The American Dream: Issues of Social, Economic, and Democratic Equality
In the late nineteenth century in the United States, the idea of the American Dream was firmly in place. In 1931 in the book The Epic of America by James Turslow Adams puts into words, the sentiment that Americans felt the years following the civil war: “but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable. . . regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” (American Dream) Essentially, what Adams is saying is: when one thinks of the ideals of the United States, individual economic opportunity, emphasis on democracy, and social equality, could all be summed up
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Many people thought that a true democracy was a chief principal of the United States, but again that does not seem to be the case even after the fifteenth amendment, which granted African American men the right to vote, was passed in 1869. The amendment asserts that it is the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied . . . on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” (Primary Documents 15th) clearly stating that all eligible citizens would have the right to vote and cannot be denied because of race. What appeared to be a forward-thinking action by the United States government ended up being a barrier to African American voters and also some poor white voters as well. By using obstructions like poll taxes which meant people had to pay to cast their vote, or making voters pass a literacy test, the local polling places could suppress poor white and black voters. (Johnson South 3) So, even though on paper all men had the right to vote in the nineteenth century, what was happening, in reality, was that the incredibly tense racism that was occurring the U.S. at the time, particularly in the south, was blocking one group of people’s political thoughts to let another’s be
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