We Can Thank Immigration For...The Most American Sh*t We Know
What does it mean to be “American”? We grew up singing “The Star-Spangled Banner”, reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance” (hand over heart), and never failing to believe, as we were told, that the United States of America was in fact the best country in the world. But to really be American is to take pride in the glorious product of a mishmash of cultures and minds—the ever-increasing melting pot, if you will. People busted their asses to make it here—the Land of Opportunity, with her amber waves of grain. And in return, our country has been enhanced many times over by the epic contributions of humans from near and far, who now call this country home. Peep their most dope contributions—and, ironically, some of Americana’s most beloved staples—below.
Hot DogsWe’re still unsure of the exact concoction of ingredients that make up a dog, but God dammit, they’re good. It’s a meaty vessel for all toppings—relish, mustard, ketchup, onions, peppers, sauerkraut—you name it. A German immigrant named Charles Feltman first brought the handheld, hangover-quenching snack to Coney Island in the summer of 1867; he sold the pork treats from a cart to New York beachgoers and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Song “God Bless America”
Arguably the most patriotic anthem of them all, “God Bless America” was written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant from Belarus, in 1918. Short and sweet, the poem is a heartfelt homage to our country that evokes feelings of pride, unity, and peace. More recently, Celine Dion (another immigrant) sang the song shortly after September 11, 2001 for the television special, America: A Tribute to Heroes. Grab your tissues.
The White HouseThe White House is the ultimate symbol for all that is American. James Hoban, who immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1785, designed the archaic, neoclassical-style structure. As the tale goes, George Washington hand-selected Hoban as the winner of the presidential home design competition in 1792. Hoban also served as the supervising architect for the Capital Building.
Blue JeansOh, Levi Strauss—where do we begin? At the risk of stating the obvious, it must be said that fashion simply wouldn’t be the same without the jean. Strauss, an immigrant from Germany, patented denim pants in 1873 (alongside Jacob Davis), and the new pant style, dubbed “blue jeans,” quickly became an American wardrobe staple (can you say, understatement of the century?). The advent of denim is entrepreneurship at its finest, if you ask us.
GoogleGoogle is a way of life (and our favorite reply when someone asks a dumb question). But let’s be real: Google’s infinite database of information has shaped society and connected humanity on a previously unimaginable level. Hailing from Russia, computer scientist Sergey Brin cofounded the tool on September 4, 1998, and since then, it’s unarguably become a behemoth cyber authority. What would life even be like if you couldn’t just say, “Google it”?
Images via Feltman’s, whitehousemuseum.org, Hypebeast, and Edudemic
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