Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Monique Moultrie

Second Advisor

Kathryn McClymond

Third Advisor

Molly Harbour Bassett


The American Dream has informed cultural and political conversation for more than a century and continues to be used as a normative trope in political discussions. It is often referred to as the cultural, political, and economic ethos of the United States. For its influence however, there is no set of documents that can define what exactly this Dream entails. In the following thesis I will trace and analyze how the American Dream came to be an authoritative myth. By analyzing its development, I will detail how dwelling in one particular understanding of it (political, cultural, etc.) is not enough to explain it, or to account for its existence. By exploring its emergence I will illustrate how political, economic and moral aspects of the American Dream work synergically to form its whole, behaving in patterns identical to religious traditions.


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