skip to Main Content

American Dream Quotes

Many of the stories in this exhibit mention some aspect of the “American Dream.”
What does the American Dream mean to you?

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

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, author, Epic of America, 1931

“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

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

“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

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., activist

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

Bruce Springsteen, musician

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

“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
Back To Top