How To Achieve The American Dream?

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The American Dream to me means a country where anyone(race,class, gender, etc.) can have the same ability to work their way to success through hard work and determination. The American Dream is not set on the same playing field for people of color, gender, and based on what income bracket you are born into. We will review one man’s journey to Kansas and the mistreatments along the way. The Black Codes in Louisiana prevented freedman from being able to experience the American Dream. Next will be ways in which Japanese Americans families were broken apart by the Internment Camps. Next was the mistreatment of Native Americans and the ways in which their land was taken. Lastly the struggle that women went through to achieve equality. The “American Dream” is a fallacy and not reachable by most Americans.

The first document was about an ex-slave and his journey. The man’s name is Bill Simms. Bill’s sister was sold for money at a young age and he has only seen her two times since. Bill was not allowed to communicate with any white individuals other than the master. The person in charge of Bill treated him very well. Bill first served in the confederate army then switched over to the union army when they came close enough to switch sides. After the war he came back to the master who was getting old and had no relatives, and was killed because people wanted his land and were worried he would give his land to his slaves. He eventually made a journey to Kansas by himself across the prairie. When he made it to kansas he worked for $35-40 a month and took night classes to learn how to read and write. (Blum, Hoffman, & Gjerde 2012) On his wife’s deathbed he told her that he would send his daughter’s to school. They ended up both graduating from Ottawa University and were the first African American girls to graduate from that school.

Then there were the Black Codes in Louisiana which had provisions like no freedman were allowed to be in a Opelousas town limits without permission from employer, Freedman can’t be out past 10pm or they would be imprisoned/fined, no meetings of people of African American descent were allowed in the town of Opelousas, and they could not rent/own a house in this town. These laws were created just after the Civil War ended to prevent freedmen from actually becoming free. I do not think that these men had the ability to experience the American Dream. Let me transition to the next document about how Japanese American families were affected by the internment camps. Japanese Americans have always had a strong tradition of mealtime with their respective families until the Manzanar internment camp. They started out eating as a family at the Mess Hall. Then ended up eating at different Mess Halls with their friends instead of with each other. It took many years to recreate this bond that they had before the camps.

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Native Americans created a proclamation to buyback Alcatraz Island and turn it into a reservation for Natives. They gave similar terms that Americans had given them for example they would purchase it for $24 fee, and pay for it in beads and cloths which was similar to a land buy Americans have done to them in the past. (Blum, Hoffman, & Gjerde 2012) Natives were offering $1.24 per acre which was greater than the forty-seven cents paid to California Natives for their land. (Blum, Hoffman, & Gjerde 2012) Some of the provisions for reservations included: no schools, no running water, no health-care facilities, no industry, and no oil rights on that land. This lead to unequal treatment and their path to success was stunted and virtually non-existent.

The National Organization for Women was created to help provide women with the same right that were allotted to men/and the recent push for African American rights. They wanted equality in education, employment, and in politics. They rejected the frame of mind that a women is taken care of by her man and her duty was to take care of the home. They did not want any extra privileges they just wanted the same opportunities as a man.

To conclude Americans did have to overcome obstacles to achieve the American Dream since the civil war. For some it was nearly impossible like how the Japanese Americans were thrown into internment camps. Then there was the mistreatment of African Americans through the use of Black Codes and the after affects of slavery. The hypocrisies in the land purchasing process that the Americans used on the Native Americans was put on display with the Proclamation to purchase Alcatraz Island back and claim it as a reservation. Inequality of the sexes was shown by the National Organization for Women. All this leads to the simple fact that the American Dream is not always achievable by everybody, and that their is not equality in the attainment of the American Dream.

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