The End of the American Dream? Publication date : October 11, 2017
A book that helps understand the history of the United States and American society today.
A specialist in Anglo-American history and civilization, Lauric Henneton is senior lecturer at the Université de Versailles – Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. He is often consulted by the media regarding the United States.
“Make America great again!” Donald Trump won the presidential election by playing on the fear of decline and the idea that he, an “outsider,” would be able to relight the fire, reawaken the “dream,” and restore America to its former glory.
But, as Lauric Henneton shows, this dialectic between the specter of decline and the American dream isn’t new. It has been rooted in the imaginary and the history of the United States ever since before it was founded. It inspired Puritan immigrants, who wanted to break with a corrupt Europe. It was found again in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with the obsession with conspiracies and antipapist sentiments. And again today, as it encourages questions about the presidency of Barack Obama, seen alternately as the destroyer or the savior of the American dream.
Through the lenses of history and sociology, Lauric Henneton examines the various components of the supposed decline – hispanization, moral decline, secularization, the end of a Christian America, etc. – by juxtaposing them with reality. We then better understand the results of the voting by that white middle class and its nostalgia for the golden age of the 1950s. We can also measure the necessary plasticity of the American dream, in which millions of individuals still believe.