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Horatio Alger

            Horatio Alger lived during an era where one was expected to work hard and make a living for themselves. A person was come up in the world by the good and dedication they had earned through working. Regardless of what class you came from, you were to work hard and become your own person. Thus, Alger wrote novels and short stories that reflected the American Dream of his time. The American Dream during the Victorian Era was that a person worked hard and "pulled himself up by the bootstraps" to a position that demanded respect and admiration by the fellow man. Alger himself rose to accomplish the status of nationally renowned writer, having come from meager beginnings. This era, which lasted approximately from the early 1800s until 1890, had a resonance of hard work, determination and revulsion for laziness. But perhaps the view of the American Dream has changed a bit. The Great Depression, which lasted from 1929-1941, ushered in an era of the hardest working class of Americans. Due to the national widespread of unemployment, many Americans did anything to earn money. No longer was it a phenomenon or extraordinary to become a self made man; it was the hope of EVERY man. But the few that were able to become rich in a period of national average poverty were admired. Following the Depression, the country stabilized financially, the belief of the American Dream changed a little. No longer did one have to make a respectable name for them self, but now simply had to provide for their family. Mostly, the man of the home was intended to work, provide food and home for the family, and being a good family man. And for some the dream has changed once again. Russ Wise stated "From the beginning, the American Dream has been to give your children a better life than you had." He supposes that no matter how good (or bad) your life may be, your child's life should surpass that. Some may beg to differ, and simply choose to believe that all one must do is work hard and provide for their family.

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