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Immigrant Stories - Budweiser and Blue Jeans

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 4 years, 6 months ago

 

Budweiser's Super Bowl Ad And The Great Debate Over What It Means To Be An American
Maria Godoy 

 

 

 

[1] "You don't look like you're from around here," a young Adolphus Busch is told as he arrives in America from Germany to pursue his dream of making beer. So begins Budweiser's new Super Bowl ad, released earlier this week into an ongoing political maelstrom over immigration. The ad depicts the company's founder trudging through swamps and mud, surviving a steamboat fire and being greeted with outright hostility before getting to St. Louis and meeting Eberhard Anheuser — i.e., the Anheuser in Anheuser-Busch. Despite the beer giant's protestations that the ad is not political, it has hit a nerve among conservatives for taking a seemingly pro-immigrant stance at a time of widespread protests against President Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations. But lost in all the brouhaha is the true story of the 19th century German immigrants behind the rise of American brewing.

 

[2] First, let's start with a little historical nitpicking with that ad. Historian Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, says that when Busch arrived in St. Louis, he didn't just run into Eberhard Anheuser — he married his daughter and took over the small brewery that Anheuser, a prosperous soap-maker, had acquired. Also, neither Anheuser nor Busch was the source of the original Budweiser. Ogle says the Bud brand was started by one of Busch's friends, Carl Conrad. Busch eventually bought Budweiser from Conrad — but that happened in the 1880s, long after he had already become a successful brewer.

 

[3] But there's one thing in the Budweiser ad that rings true to history: the anti-German immigrant hostility that Busch is depicted enduring on the streets. "Go back home!" a man tells him angrily. While we don't know whether Busch himself ever walked through such hostile crowds, Ogle says the 1850s were certainly an era marked by "xenophobic turmoil." Busch was part of a large wave of German immigrants, including Frederick Miller and Frederick Pabst, who helped build American brewing in the mid-1800s. The still-new nation was in the middle of a great debate over what it meant to be an American. And it was seeing a huge influx of immigrants — not just from Germany, but Ireland, too.

 

[4] "Both the Irish and Germans came from cultures where alcohol was a respectable habit," says Ogle. Many native-born Americans were worried about how all those newcomers, and their customs, would affect national identity, Ogle says. That's partly what gave rise to the temperance movement. It wasn't just about condemning alcohol, it was about defining the moral character of America. "That was a serious culture clash," Ogle says. "And it did fuel a really strong Prohibition movement." Many Germans who came over set up beer halls in towns with large German enclaves, like St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee. "Americans thought of it as disreputable — only low-class people drank," Ogle says. "If you went into a tavern, you were going into the seventh circle of hell."

 

[5] This was the 1840s and '50s, when America was still debating the great question of slavery, and whether to legalize it outside the South. Ogle says many working-class whites in the North who organized against the expansion of slavery did so, in part, out of fear that they'd be competing for low-skill jobs. These working-class whites were anti-immigrant for the same reasons, she says."There were pitched battles in the streets where people were saying, 'You don't belong here. Go home. We don't want any more immigrants, ' " Ogle says. The Republican Party was born in Wisconsin in this climate, she says, to combat the expansion of slavery into the Western territories, but also as a way for German immigrants to stand up for themselves. "In Milwaukee [the Republican Party] was made up of German immigrants who were determined to protect immigrant rights and who wanted to end slavery," she says.

 

[6] As for Busch, he became an American citizen and was extremely proud of it, Ogle says. He died before the start of World War I — when anti-German sentiment became rampant in the U.S. His wife, Lilly Anheuser Busch, suffered a terrible indignity. Suspected of being a German spy, she was forced to undergo a full-body exam — body cavities included — by order of the attorney general on her way back from visiting relatives in Germany. And his family was denounced in newspapers as un-American, their loyalties to the nation openly questioned.

 

[7 One other thing to note: Many of those German immigrants of the mid-19th century were essentially refugees. They were fleeing constant warfare in Europe and came to America in search of stability. So while Budweiser's ad represents a glowing representation of the American dream, the truth is more complicated and, in fact, reflects a history of immigration that reverberates today. "Right now a little history is valuable for just about everything," Ogle says

 

Source Link: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/03/513263766/budweiser-s-super-bowl-ad-misses-the-real-timelier-story-about-immigrants-and-be

 

 

The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World

Posted by Ideal Immigration.com

 

 

 

[1] Baseball. Apple pie. Blue jeans. There are few things more synonymous with the American spirit. Blue jeans transcend the class divide. They can be found on everyone from high fashion models to construction workers. More than 450 million pairs are sold every year in the United States alone. But where did this ubiquitous symbol of Americana get its start? It all began in a small village in Germany.

 

[2]  Loeb “Levi” Strauss was born February 26, 1829, in Buttenheim, Germany, a small market town nestled in the Regnitz Valley. Unfortunately, the anti-Jewish sentiment was high. The Strauss family lived a difficult life, faced with housing restrictions and additional taxes because of their beliefs. When the patriarch of the family died in 1845, the Strauss family began making preparations to immigrate to the United States. The eldest sons, Jonas and Louis, ran a successful dry-goods shop in New York City and could help the rest of the family begin a new life across the Atlantic.

 

[3] They made their journey in 1847 when Levi was eighteen years old. He was invited to work in his brothers’ shop, where he learned the ins and outs of being a small business owner. It was during his time working with his brothers that he changed his name to Levi and became an American citizen. Strauss decided to prove his chops as a traveling peddler in Kentucky. There, he sold his brothers’ dry goods from a pack on his back, which he carried from home to home.

 

[4] Having shown his brothers his worth as a merchant, Levi was asked to move out west to the thriving city of San Francisco. The California Gold Rush of 1849 had caused the area’s population to boom, opening the door for businesses to open up shop on the Pacific coast. His brothers saw the opportunity to build a new branch of their dry-goods shop and invited Levi to take over operations.

 

[5]  In 1853, the doors of Levi Strauss & Co opened. With his wholesale businesses, Levi supplied local shops with fabric, clothes, perfume, and other dry-goods that he had imported from New York. Typically, importing was expensive and time-consuming, but with his connections across the country, Levi quickly saw success.

 

[6] As his business grew and the city filled with families, he expanded his inventory to include home goods. This included everything from sewing kits to canvas tents, which he manufactured himself. Strauss rose to prominence in San Francisco and smaller, outlying communities. He helped create the first synagogue in the area and regularly donated money to support orphans.

 

[7] In 1872, a man named Jacob Davis wrote a letter to Strauss asking him to fund a new patent. Using canvas material that Davis bought in Strauss’ shop, he had created a pair of pants with rivets on the pockets and fly, where typical pants were most likely to tear. Together, the men perfected the design and filed the patent. It was officially approved on May 20, 1873.

In the beginning, these new “waist overalls” were created and sewn in the homes of hired seamstresses across the city. They began dying the pants a deep blue to hide stains, which made them even more appealing for workers and gold panners. Eventually, canvas was swapped out for denim, as it was sturdier and less likely to tear. As their popularity continued to grow and demand increased, Strauss rented out a factory building and began manufacturing the pants at high volume. His famous 501s soon expanded to include work shirts and overalls.

 

[8] Though he continued to run his dry-goods store, much of Levi’s attention turned towards successfully manufacturing the highly popular blue jeans. Because Strauss had never married or had children, he began to train his nephews to take over the business, allowing him to focus on other pursuits, such as his roles as Treasurer of the San Francisco Board of Trade and director of the Liverpool, London, and Globe Insurance Company, San Francisco Gas and Electric Company, and the Nevada Bank. He also continued his charitable work, establishing twenty-eight scholarships for the University of California and donating money to build a railroad system that ran from the San Joaquin Valley to San Francisco.  When Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902, his estate was worth nearly $200 million (adjusted for inflation). He left his business to his nephews, with Jacob Stern taking over as acting president.

 

[9]Today, visitors to the Levi Strauss & Co headquarters can view historical exhibits that celebrate the life of one of America’s greatest immigrant entrepreneurs. In a time where political tensions are high and the immigration debate rages, it pays to look back at the value immigrants have brought to the United States. Levi Strauss created a clothing icon, a symbol of the hard work and tenacity of American laborers. Had he stayed in Germany, likely, the creation of the blue jean as we know it today would not have been possible.

 

[10]Today, you can find a pair of Levis in almost every household across the country. The company employs more than 12,500 people worldwide, including 5,700 in America. They hold their third-party suppliers to strict guidelines regarding working conditions, ethical environmental impact, and employment practices. They are committed to sustainability and have donated more than $300 million since 1954.

 

The company is a testament to the creativity and drive that immigrants bring to our nation.

 

 

Source Link: https://www.idealimmigration.us/blog/immigrant-profile-levi-strauss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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