The Jeffersonian Vision Of The American Dream

765 Words4 Pages
Thomas Jefferson’s well-known phrase in the Declaration of Independence, “the pursuit of happiness,” is the cornerstone and driving force behind what individuals consider being American, which began to lead to the foundation of the American Dream (Klees, 105). The nineteenth century consumer culture in America gave way to vast economic growth, making the antebellum period the stage for creating the consumerist identity through the change in the class system and the consumption of “things.” The American Dream has evolved over time, but it was in the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson that wrote that “the pursuit of happiness” Jefferson believed in a country where hard work and land could secure “economic self-sufficiency” and individual independence and freedom (Klees, ). The Jeffersonian vision of the American Dream was perfectly suited for the America for the end of the 18th century and for much of the 19th century (klees, ). However, it was the economic boom of the antebellum era that transformed this vision into the consumer driven identity and American Dream that supported the industrial growth and economy.
Thoreau describes a “true America” that allows one to “pursue such a mode of life as may enable you to do without these, and where the state does not endeavor to compel you to sustain the slavery and war and other superfluous expenses which directly or indirectly result from the use of such things”

Thoreau was a major contributor of transcendentalist
Get Access