Annals of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics, History and Political Science

The Annals is a forum for the free exchange of ideas
among scholars working in the field of social sciences
Volume LVI 2-2022

Our Italian American Heritage Today

Luigi R. Einaudi,
pp. 187-200
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For fifty years, from 1920 to 1971, Italians were the largest single foreign-born group in the United States. The impact of this exodus was enormous. What is the Italian American heritage today? The mainstream of American culture has been influenced by Americans of Italian origin and qualities thought to be Italian. Nor is it just work, food and family. Music, fashion, opera, movies, art, crime, soccer, even physics, banking and medicine. As Italian Americans, we have a heritage of which we should be proud, in Italy, in America, and in what we have produced together. Looking to the future, there are two sharp, even dramatic alternatives. One is to say, we have come far – it is time to stop and enjoy what we have. The other is to say, we have indeed come far – and in coming far we learned we must build on our principles to carry us further, and by God, we will not stop. If we allow ourselves and America to stop and drift in the glorification of the past, to wall ourselves in to defend where we think we are, we will be giving up on the ideals that made America the world’s magnet. Italian Americans will then become just one of many morally impoverished fragments of a world in retreat.