Hofstra Pulse Magazine

America without Immigrants

By: Joe Ibraham


There is an abundance of truly American things. Pieces and pastimes embraced and bred by Americans:


Barbeques and Budweiser:  The “Great American Lager,” has been around since 1876, when it was first brewed in St. Louis, Missouri. Beers and barbeque- what a beautiful combination!


Thanksgiving: You can thank the party at Plymouth Rock is present- day Massachusetts. They have been making families dribble and drool every late November since 1621. We owe that to the Pilgrims!


Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: These traditional treats were introduced by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901, and have been satisfying American stomachs for over a century. In fact, the National Peanut Board (yes, it exists) says that the average child will consume 1,500 of these wonders before graduating high school. Keep holding it down, kids.

The 40-Hour Workweek: Wait. Let’s forget America started that one. America has bred greatness, but you’d be surprised to know that not all seemingly American things are actually the work of an American. In fact, immigrants have introduced many of the things America has come to know and love.


Take a look:


After studying architecture in his home country of Vienna, Austria, Victor Gruen emmigrated to the United States in 1938, after his country was annexed by Germany. Soon after, Gruen moved to Los Angeles to open his own architectural firm. In 1954, he designed the first suburban open-air shopping facility called Northland Mall in Detroit, Michigan. The design was successful, and the rest is history. Up until the 1970’s, Gruen and his firm designed over 50 shopping malls across the United States.


If you’ve ever been to a baseball game, you’ve probably heard the song “God Bless America”. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? We have Irving Berlin, a Russian immigrant, to thank for that. Berlin and his family emigrated from Russia to New York City in 1893, where he began his songwriting career.


Where do you go when you need answers, homework help, or a good laugh? Try Google, the worlds most popular search engine and Internet Company. Sergey Brin, a Russian immigrant, co-founded the corporation with Michigan native Larry Page in 1988 in an effort to better analyze the relationships between websites. As of October 2014, Google is valued at $107.4 billion, although many Americans wouldn’t hesitate to call it a priceless commodity.


There isn’t anything quite like a nice pair of Levi’s, right? From boot cut to skinny, owning a pair of jeans is common-place for Americans. These famous jeans got their start in the United States when German immigrant Levi Strauss came to the country in 1847 to join his two brothers Jonas and Louis in selling dry goods. After moving to Kentucky to help sell their product, Strauss eventually took his business to the West Coast and opened Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco, California. There, he began to produce the famous blue jeans America knows so well today.

The list of immigrant contributions goes on and on. Our Presidents, for example, owe it to Irish architect James Hoban for designing the White House.

Thank you, James.

Our beloved Santa Claus, the man who brings us gifts in return for cookies and milk, might not be around to slide down our chimneys if it weren’t for the Dutch bringing “Sinterklaas” to the New World colonies.

Thank you, Netherlands.

And thank you immigrants.

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