"The basic American promise that if you work hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college." - Barack Obama
This contemporary statement uses the idea of the American Dream in regards to the notion that hard work will pay off. As long as you work hard, you will be rewarded.
In Ragged Dick it could be argued that Dick himself embodies this, in that although he is a boy on the streets, it is his hard work and determination that enable him to slowly move up in life. However, there is also the fact that some people manage to see promise in Dick, and it could be argued that if it wasn't for them, then Dick would not have managed to achieve as much as he has.
This statement is also in keeping with the idea of individual success, in this case having a job that you can aspire to be successful in. This idea matches that of the notion of success in Ragged Dick, for example, thanks to his wit and street-smarts Dick is able to overcome many of his problems, and save money that he has gathered from his hard work and wit. Although, many argue that it Dick's luck alone which allows him to succeed. However, if Dick had not had to survive by working, then he wouldn't know how to act in order to help himself get further, and it is his experiences which have helped him be able to use his determination and hard work to help him succeed.
In order for Dick to have a successful life, he needed to work hard, and this statement highlights the message, by telling American's that hard work will lead to an enjoyable and full life. And that even if you come from poverty, or are not well-off you can become comfortable in the future if you only work hard.