Quotes on the American Dream

“Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it, and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are or where we’re from or what we look like or who we love.”
Michelle Obama, former first lady, lawyer and author

“I was a poor kid. I came from nothing. We didn’t have any money; a lot of times we didn’t have any food, and now, all of a sudden, I’m a superhero in a Marvel movie? Talk about the American dream, man – I’m living it.”
Dave Bautista, American actor

“I love entrepreneurship because that’s what makes this country grow, and if I can help companies grow, I am creating jobs; I am setting foundations for future generations. It sends the message that the American Dream is alive and well.”
Mark Cuban, American entrepreneur, television personality, media proprietor, and investor

“The American Dream is a term that is often used but also often misunderstood. It isn’t really about becoming rich or famous. It is about things much simpler and more fundamental than that.”
Mark Rubio, United States Senator for Florida

“The American dream comes from opportunity. The opportunity comes from our founding principles, our core values that’s held together and protected by the Constitution. Those ideas are neither Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, white, or black. Those are American ideologies.”
Ted Yoho, United States Representative

“The American Dream I believe in is one that provides anyone willing to work hard enough with the opportunity to succeed.”
Tammy Duckworth, former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and United States Senator for Illinois since 2017

“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 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.”
James Truslow Adams, defining the American Dream in Epic of America, 1931.

“Our workforce and our entire economy are strongest when we embrace diversity to its fullest, and that means opening doors of opportunity to everyone and recognizing that the American Dream excludes no one.”

Thomas Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor

“When we make college more affordable, we make the American Dream more achievable.”
William J. Clinton, 42nd President of the U.S.

“A basic element of the American dream is equal access to education as a lubricant of social and economic mobility.”
Nicholas Kristof, journalist

“I am the epitome of what the American Dream basically said. It said you could come from anywhere and be anything you want in this country.”
Whoopi Goldberg, actress and comedian

“The promise of the American Dream requires that we are all provided an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to our nation.”
Charles B. Rangel, U.S. Congress

“To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.”
Maya Lin, architect

“For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.”
— Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator

“I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.”
Bruce Springsteen, musician

“My father worked in the Post Office. A lot of double shifts. All his friends were in the same situation – truck drivers, taxi cab drivers, grocery clerks. Blue collar guys punching the clock and working long, hard hours. The thought that sustained them was the one at the center of the American Dream.”
Gary David Goldberg, writer

“In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor.”
Julian Castro, U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development

“I think the American Dream used to be achieving one’s goals in your field of choice – and from that, all other things would follow. Now, I think the Dream has morphed into the pursuit of money: Accumulate enough of it, and the rest will follow.”
Buzz Aldrin, astronaut

“To realize the American Dream, the most important thing to understand is that it belongs to everybody. It’s a human dream. If you understand this and work very hard, it is possible.”
–Cristina Saralegui, journalist

“There are those who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American Dream.”
–Archibald Macleish, poet.

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I feel that I am a citizen of the American Dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare.”
–Eldridge Cleaver, writer and activist

“The American Dream may be slipping away. We have overcome such challenges before. To recover the Dream requires knowing where it came from, how it lasted so long and why it matters so much.”
–Jon Meacham, editor

“The American Dream belongs to all of us.”
–Kamala Harris, California Attorney General

“The faith that anyone could move from rags to riches – with enough guts and gumption, hard work and nose to the grindstone – was once at the core of the American Dream.”
–Robert Reich, economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor

“The American Dream is a phrase we’ll have to wrestle with all our lives. It means a lot of things to different people. I think we’re redefining it now.”
–Rita Dove, poet


Selected Books by Speakers at the Roosevelt University 2016 Conference on the American Dream Reconsidered

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