Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

United States: Italian pride

United States: Italian pride
It’s no secret that the US and Italy have a strong relationship spanning generations, but what you might not know is just how much a part Italy played in the establishing of the country. Italian Christopher Columbus is most famous for discovering America, but it’s another Italian that gave his name to it – Amerigo Vespucci, a cartographer that helped Columbus realize the importance of his discovery.

During one of America’s largest growth spurts in the early twentieth century, Italian immigrants took on much of the work. It was a case of good timing, where the US’s post-civil war labor shortage became the perfect drawcard for Italians, particularly from the south, where overcrowding and economic difficulty made the promise of a new life and opportunities very appealing. Some 4 million Italians made the move and helped build the nation, including specialists in the arts, craft, agriculture and architecture who often received special invitation from American leaders.

The declaration of independence itself has Italian influence, with Thomas Jefferson drawing inspiration from close friend Filippo Mazzei, a promoter of liberty. And the Italian influence can also be seen in Washington DC with the Capitol Building receiving the skills and vision of Constantino Brumidi, who dedicated his life to its evolution. With such a strong role in the foundations of a great nation, it’s understandable why Italians don’t just see America as an ally, they see her as family.