Italian-Americans in the United States
This paper will discuss the history and experience of Italian-Americans in the United States since the beginning of European exploration. The first part of the paper will briefly provide a history of Italian immigrants in America. The second part of the paper will discuss the culture and lifestyle of Italian immigrants in the United States. The third part of the paper will examine some of the more famous stereotypes of Italian-Americans. The fourth and fifth parts of the paper will describe the acculturation and assimilation of Italian-Americans into the larger American culture.
Italian explorers were among the first to discover the "New World" in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. The most famous of these explorers was, of course, Christopher Columbus, whose initial voyage in 1492 explored islands in the Caribbean. Columbus has long been celebrated for his "discovery" and most traditional surveys of United States history begin with his voyages. Although he sailed under the flag of Spain, he is generally thought to have been born in Genoa to Italian parents. Thus, the holiday set aside in the United States commemorating his accomplishments is widely regarded as an "Italian American" holiday, with large parades and celebrations in the Italian quarters of large cities. Following Columbus' voyage, many Italians began exploring the new territory, although these territories were claimed by Spain, France, and Great Britain. These individuals and their families pushed the frontier boundaries of European settlements farther into the wilderness, which was occupied by the various Native American tribes (Schiavo, 1934, pp. 35-127).
Although Italians were prominent explorers, they comprised a relatively small proportion of the population in the English colonies in North America. Those who did settle in the colonies were mostly associated with international commercial activity, eithe...