American Dream/Economic Royalists

At the Democratic Convention in 1936 in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt decried what he termed economic royalists in his acceptance speech1.He was referring to the wealthy industrialists and other members of society's upper echelon.Roosevelt's message was clear – that these wealthy individuals would not dictate American policy.Instead, he argued, Americans should not be ruled by the "over- privileged".
Roosevelt chose his characterization deliberately – the term'royalists' referred directly back to the European social hierarchy.Five years previous, the concept of the American Dream was developed in juxtaposition to the European socioeconomic model.James Truslow Adams coined the term in The Epic of America and specifically referred in his text to the European elite, and how they would not understand the concept of the American Dream2.
Roosevelt's characterization may have been popular at a time when unemployment was hovering around 20%, but the reality is that those economic royalists were the embodiment of the American Dream.They were individuals who had, through hard work and luck, acquired wealth and power.Many so-called'economic royalists' had in fact started with almost nothing.That characterization, however, had strong implications for American society.
For most of its life, the concept of the American Dream has embodied not just hard work, but material success.For American society, however, it was important to distinguish between those who had the potential for success and those who had already achieved it.Thus, the concept of the American Dream was better for American society.The United States had a similar pattern of industrialization to the nations of Western Europe.One of the most significant differences was that the socioeconomic power structure in Europe was viewed by change relatively little as a result…