Skip to main content

Morning Shift

Anxiety And The American Dream

When Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he coined a phrase every American now knows by heart: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

In her new book America the Anxious, journalist and filmmaker Ruth Whippman explores how that last “unalienable right” — “the pursuit of happiness” — is turning many Americans into nail-biting worrywarts. 

Whippman is British, and when she moved to California a few years back, she was shocked by how much Americans seem to fixate on happiness, sometimes to their own detriment. 

Morning Shift talks to Whippman about how American and British attitudes toward happiness differ as she shares some anecdotes about learning what makes people tick in her adopted country. We also open up the phones to hear from listeners about anxiety and the American Dream.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.

CLOSE X