The Political American Dream: Reimagining American Optimism in Political, Not Economic, Terms
Author: Colleen Mitchell
This paper seeks to understand the American Dream in more political and less economic terms. The political American Dream presents a more collective understanding of the American Dream that prioritizes the principles of the Declaration of Independence: freedom, equality, and union. Such a political understanding can be found in the writings of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barack Obama; they believed that the principles of the Declaration have the power to bring together Americans, particularly American racial minorities and immigrants. This paper contends that a political understanding of the American Dream can better unite Americans and contribute to contemporary debates about immigration policy.
Colleen Mitchell is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science and a Gender Studies Minor at the University of Notre Dame. Her work focuses on Ancient and Early Modern Political Thought, as well as Politics and Literature and Gender and Politics. She is currently working on her dissertation, “The Political Lessons of Rome: Augustine and Machiavelli on the Eternal City.”