Reflections on the American Dream

“As the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch Sailor’s eyes — a fresh green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human drama; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

And now, 400 years later, how does it feel to be standing in the middle of American soil, a descendant of the wanderer who met his match when the vast prairie-lands began to transform along the frontier into the rugged, unsettled mountains and deserts? Did our ancestors realize their historic Place in reaching the Pinnacle of geographic Opportunity? 

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