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American Dream

Essay by   •  January 12, 2012  •  Essay  •  916 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,415 Views

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American Dream

What is the American dream? To many people it's fortune and to others it's family. My interpretation of the American dream is to have a family, to have wealth, to own a home, to have a successful career, and to own a car. Henry Ford invented the automobile, and created part of the American dream. In doing this, he became an iconic part of American history. He not only exemplifies the American dream through his own life, but also made it possible for the average working American the chance to live this dream as well. Henry Ford symbolizes the ideals of the American dream through his invention of the car, his family, and his successful business and resulting wealth.

On June 16, 1908, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company and began to create an American empire. The company unveiled the Model T Ford automobile in 1908, and as a result defined a portion of the American dream. The car was a great success and became affordable to the American people because of Ford's business strategy. Ford promoted his product through billboards, newspaper advertisements, and even a fifteen minute movie reel for cinemas. Ford also created the idea of self-marketing products by placing the Ford Motor Company's name on every car he made. The price of the car dropped every year from its initial release such that by the 1920s, most drivers had learned how to drive in a Model T. It was said that the Model T could be "fixed with twine, wire, pins, or chewing gum and the only tools needed were a screwdriver, a monkey wrench, a hammer, and a pair of pliers." This shows the reliability and ease of repair for this car. Because it was so easy to maintain and because the price became affordable for most working Americans, the car became a part of American culture. Everyone wanted to own a Ford automobile. In fact the car was so well known and respected that the United States Army used the car in World War I to carry troops to the frontlines in France. Henry Ford in creating the automobile engrained himself into the American dream.

Through Ford's automobile success, he created great wealth for himself. In 1922, Henry Ford was the nation's wealthiest man. His net worth at death was estimated to be 188.1 billion dollars. Ford's wealth was so extreme that "some banks refused to accept million dollar deposits from Ford because of the fear that he might withdraw it all at once, thus breaking the bank." Ford was not born into a wealthy family and was a self-made man. He worked hard to build his company and promote his automobile empire. He grew up on a farm, but through his hard work was able to move to the city and create a better life for himself. Ford created the assembly line and was able to mass produce his automobiles, sell them at a lower price, but create a bigger profit than creating cars individually and selling them at a higher price.

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