ownership. Today it sometimes includes the idea of owning a home. The definition of the American Dream is under constant discussion. While the term "American Dream" is associated with immigrants, native-born Americans can also be described as "pursuing the American Dream" or "living the American Dream.”
“This is essentially a People's contest. On the side of the Union, it is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men - to lift artificial weights from all shoulders - to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all - to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life. Yielding to partial, and temporary departures, from necessity, this is the leading object of the government for whose existence we contend.”
In 1960 the poet Archibald MacLeish, debating ‘national purpose,’ said: "There are those, I know, who will reply that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American Dream.”
During the 19th century the American Dream for many millions of people was to own their own farm land. The Homestead Act of 1862 which allowed settlers to own up to 160 acres of the Public Domain after 5 years residence, making some improvements, and paying a nominal fee allows hundreds of thousands to reach the American Dream.
Homestead National Monument of America preserves the ideals behind and the legacy of the Homestead Act of 1862. Lincoln probably thought this law which he signed on May 20, 1862 elevated the condition of men, lifted artificial weights, and provided a fair chance in the race of life.