Toddlers today play on iPads. With mobile technology, young professionals can get their jobs done at the beach. That vision of boundless prosperity started to look real again after the end of World War II. Thanks to an economy primed by massive amounts of military spending, the victorious United States emerged as the wealthiest, most powerful -- and arguably, most envied --society on the planet.
In the s, Americans, who made up just six percent of the world's population , produced and consumed one-third of its goods and services. Factories busily churned out products to meet the needs of an exploding population, wages rose, and increasingly affluent workers and their growing families moved into spacious new houses in the suburbs [source: Many Americans in this new middle class embraced a belief in seemingly perpetual upward mobility.
They believed that if they worked hard enough, life would continue to get better and better for them and for their offspring. To be sure, some social critics saw that dream as overly materialistic, spiritually empty, intellectually stifling and destructive.
Others pointed out the fact that America wasn't necessarily a land of opportunity for everyone, particularly those who belonged to racial and ethnic minorities. Home The Evolution of the American Dream.
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