Crafting an American Dream Argument Essay

Sometimes you are given a topic that is not so cut and dry a subject to write about, even for a thesis-driven paper. It can seem daunting, trying to figure out where you stand on an issue like the age old concept of the American dream. At the very least, you want to find a position that has the most interesting talking points for you. But where to begin? Here are some tips to get things moving on your essay.

  • Brainstorming
    What is the American dream? It may seem like an obvious question, but often we may need a little extra understanding of what we think we already know. Once you have familiarized yourself with the American dream, its controversial nature will ring true. This will help you develop your thesis.
  • Choosing a Side
    What, then, are you most interested in discussing about the American dream? It must be a position that you have to support with sufficient evidence. Some suggestions on what might be good positions to take are as follows (though your position can be more nuanced than these examples):
    1. The American dream is real or not real.
    2. The American dream is a legitimate standard for Americans or it is not.
    3. The American dream is an outdated standard for Americans or it is not.
    4. Access to the American Dream is available to all citizens or it is not.
    5. The American dream existed but has died, or it has not.
  • Evidence
    Let’s say you have chosen the latter position of number 4, “Access to the American Dream is not available to all citizens.” You now have to come up with reasons why you believe this to be true, and you have to provide information, facts, figures, and/or intellectual claims from reliable sources. As an example for this particular thesis, one reason comes to mind. Racial/ethnic lines divide the country, causing consistent economic, social and political disparities. Though a common reason among people who would support this thesis, it still requires background information that—dependent on the difficulty and length of your paper—you will need to include. The goal is the sway readers that don’t agree with you, or at least be able to enlighten them on your point of view.
  • Anecdotes
    When dealing with a topic as controversial as the American dream, no matter what your argument ultimately becomes it is crucial that you keep anecdotes about yourself or other individuals to a minimum. It’s one thing to use a story or two for your introduction, to hook in your audience. It’s another entirely when evidence to support claims that support the thesis are little more than individualized experiences that cannot speak for the majority (or a good portion) of your audience.

Hopefully, the tips listed here will help you not only write the best piece you can about such an important concept in American history, but also prepare you for more controversial essay assignments down the road.

Learning Tools For College Students