When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look at key issues affecting society. These words and their promise about the opportunity to seek fulfilling lives are the basis of the American Dream.
But there is now increasing debate — and not only among politicians — about the extent to which the American Dream and the right to the pursuit of happiness are equally available to all citizens.
The fact is that US trends in opportunity are becoming more unequal by any number of measures. American attitudes towards inequality and opportunity have historically been exceptional in comparison to other countries.
The question is, do these attitudes, which are closely linked to how happy people feel, affect their choices about the future? However, if it is indicative of persistent advantage for some and disadvantage for others, then the effect is negative.
People with more positive attitudes about their future mobility have higher levels of well-being. As a result, they are more willing to invest in the future. People with limited opportunities focus primarily on the short term. They discount the future not only because they have less time, energy or money to set aside but also because they have less confidence that those investments will pay off.
So how does increasing inequality in the US affect the way Americans think about the future? Is the happiness for all implicitly promised in the Declaration of Independence an elusive dream?
Well-being analysis has become increasingly accepted in economics and in the social sciences. These include situations where respondents do not have the capacity to reveal a preference or when behaviors are driven by beliefs or self-control problems as in the case of excessive consumption of cigarettes or junk food.
This, for example, is the case when people are asked about the impact of institutional arrangements that they are powerless to change, like inequality.
So-called happiness metrics give us a novel tool to measure the linkages between well-being and attitudes towards mobility. There are two distinct ways of measuring well-being.
Individuals with higher levels of evaluative well-being, who have more of a sense of what their futures look like and more control over them, may experience lower levels of hedonic well-being because, for example, of being under greater pressure as they work to make investments in those futures.
Individuals with less agency to craft their futures focus more on day-to-day well-being both because their future outlooks are far less certain and because simply getting by each day can be a struggle. Two Americas What is striking about the results of our research is how differently poor and rich Americans look at the future.
There are two Americas: Differences in life satisfaction between poor and rich Americans. A recent analysis based on a Google search by David Leonhardt found that the most common words in the poor locations were religion, hell, guns, video-games, and diabetes.
The most common words in the wealthy ones were baby joggers and baby bjorns, iPads, and exotic travel destinations.
Getting through the day in one America; investing in knowledge and the future in the other. Equally telling, the starkest gaps we find between the scores of poor and rich Americans are when we measure attitudes towards the belief that hard work can get you ahead.
These beliefs, one might argue, are the pinnacle of the American Dream. What is perhaps more remarkable, we find that the gaps between poor and rich Americans are much greater than those between poor and rich Latin Americans, a region long known for its high levels of income inequality.
Why is this so?In The Pursuit of Happiness - Individuals try to find happiness, but like water or air, it is hard to clench in your hands. As defined in Merriam-Webster (), happiness is a .
Willy Loman, Jay Gatsby, and the Pursuit of the American Dream Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, and Arthur Miller, author of Death of a Salesman, both tell the stories of men in the costly pursuit of the American dream.
The Ultimate Good Habit: Helping Others. The Slight Edge is merely a single plank in an ever-growing “positivity platform” designed to encourage people to make helping others a .
The Great Gatsby: The Decline of The American Dream - The pursuit of the American Dream has been alive for generations. People from nations all over the world come to America for the chance to achieve this legendary dream of freedom, opportunity, and the “all American family”.
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer.
The Modern American Party is an innovative, moderate and transparent political party that supports value-based leaders.
The Modern American Party is a group of change-makers who build our innovative platforms for leaders to run as individual candidates to invigorate voices of moral clarity, restore human values and revive our faith in the American Dream.