Living the American Dream

Yesterday in Sunday school we were discussing the American dream, and who we thought was living the American dream. When you’re asked, who is living the dream? You may think of someone who has lots of money or really nice things like a movie star or celebrity. That’s what I thought of, but someone said something that kind of surprised me. They said that Teddy Roosevelt lived the American dream. They made mention of the fact that he was sickly and had bad asthma as a child but was able to make something of himself by his own will. They also mentioned his hand in the creation of the national parks. That thought was really interesting and I immediately though *blog idea*. So, I did a little research and found this great article about Roosevelt and the nation parks.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1885

Theodore Roosevelt, 1885

At the beginning of the article it talks about how Roosevelt became interested in the nature and the preservation of animals. Did you know he was a taxidermist and donated some of his preserved animal to the Smithsonian? The article also tells about Roosevelt taking a break from his campaign trail to spend a couple of weeks touring and camping in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. I was excited to read the park about John Muir helping convince Roosevelt to expand Yosemite, because we watched that part of the video in class, and I thought it was really interesting.

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, Grizzly Giant Tree, Yosemite National Park, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, Grizzly Giant Tree, Yosemite National Park, 1903

After thing about it I think the lady in my Sunday school class was right about Teddy Roosevelt living the American dream. As a child he didn’t show much hope for prosperity, but he found something he loved and believed in, which was nature and the preservation of it, and he perused it.  He made a great impact on the national parks. They would probably be much different today if it were not for Roosevelt and his love of nature.


One thought on “Living the American Dream

  1. So is there anything about the American dream that is problematic or an illusion? I think so! But the real question is how we see ideologies of the American Dream and individualism being represented in national parks. Alexander Wilson would say that the very way the parks are produced and then consumed would play into this kind of American Dream ideology, I think. His reading of the Blue Ridge Parkway is particularly compelling. There are certain ways that the travel of the road is meant to communicate human control over the landscape.

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