Exploring opportunity in America -- immigrant entrepreneurship and rags to riches success

Anna Erdheim

Document Type Dissertation/Thesis


The United States is, indeed, a land of vast opportunity. A diverse group of individuals continually benefit from the prospects provided by this inherently free nation. Although some constraints in America have prevented people from realizing their ultimate potentials, this nation offers immense possibilities overall to progress socially, economically, and culturally. America allows for people of all socioeconomic, religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds to take full advantage of the various opportunities offered by this mainly egalitarian land. I will demonstrate how various people have emerged from disadvantaged circumstances to succeed in the United States. In America, the majority of successful individuals are self-made.1 In fact, roughly 80% of American millionaires have earned their money by themselves, rather than through inheritance or as the result of family fortune. Such accounts of achievement are not rare in the United States.