American dream according to Columbus and John Smith

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America has been a destination for exploration and colonization, attracting individuals seeking economic, governmental, and religious growth. The idea of the American dream originated from European influences, particularly through the voyages of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus and Englishman John Smith. Their expeditions played a significant role in promoting the concept of the American dream.

Columbus embarked on a westward voyage in search of a passage to the east and unexpectedly arrived in the abundant new world. According to Columbus’ “Letter to Louis De Santayana regarding the first Voyage,” their initial impressions of this new land fulfilled all their desires. “The islands, including this one, possess boundless fertility.” Upon their arrival, they recognized the possibilities that awaited them – collecting and trading various trees, plants, animals, and fruits. “The island is filled with dense pine forests, vast expanses of cultivable land, honey, diverse bird species, and a wide variety of fruits.” These islands were incredibly fertile. They featured numerous harbors, rivers, highlands, mountains, and sierras. Columbus saw the potential for economic profit through the acquisition of spices, gold, and trade for himself and his country. This land promised a better, easier, and more prosperous life, which can be compared to the American dream in a sense.

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When news spread about this newly discovered land, many people desired to be a part of it. Since this land had very few inhabitants, it was available for Europeans to settle in. According to Columbus, “And from that point I sent two men inland to learn if there was a king or great cities. They traveled three days’ journey and found an abundance of small hamlets and countless people, but nothing of significance.” This pristine and sparsely populated land was ripe for European exploitation. Columbus was not the only one who praised this new land. According to Smith, it was also highly regarded by entrepreneurs.

His Description of New England is a comprehensive account of the fishing, soils, inhabitants, fauna, flora, and climate of the coastal region stretching from Cape Cod to Penobscot. Smith viewed New England as a promising destination for the transplantation of English life to America. This work serves as an extensive advertisement and prospectus aimed at attracting investors and settlers, with Smith offering his expertise and leadership. He begins by expressing the joy and satisfaction that come from risking one’s life to acquire land. He highlights how it would be effortless to build one’s own house, cultivate one’s own crops, and enjoy God’s blessings without any prejudice.

Smith discusses the advantages of fishing using only a stick and a hook, stating that one can catch high-quality fish. He also proposes that planting crops could result in an annual yield of up to 50 shillings, which could be used for purchasing meat and beer while still becoming wealthy. Smith finds it odd that laborers who sow different crops and pay for an acre of land, along with providing wages and provisions, can still become poor when better or equally good land is available at no cost except for labor. He urges individuals to come to this country and pursue their American dream, which encompasses achieving a better life with prosperity, freedom, and opportunities. Personally, my version of the American dream has always revolved around owning a beautiful white house with a porch, holding a well-paying 9-5 job, having a loving family with two children, and possessing a loyal golden retriever that retrieves the ball faithfully.

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American dream according to Columbus and John Smith. (2018, Feb 01). Retrieved from

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