17 Things Boston Has Given America (You're Welcome!)

Boston has always been a team player, giving far more than it received, though that’s not saying much, since a lot of what we’ve received are terrible attempts at mimicking our whimsically lyrical accent. Anyway, since our earliest days, we have been all America, all the time. So, you’re welcome. Here are 17 things Boston has given to the USA:

American heroes
American Spirit/Shutterstock

1. The greatest American heroes

Native sons Paul Revere, the hard-partying Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin (born on Milk Street) weren’t going to let those damn Limeys tax us and get away with it.  Basically these noble Bostonians gave America…

2.  America

It’s kind of a big deal.  Purple mountains, amber waves, fruited plains.  This land is our land, made for you, me, and NASCAR, which admittedly did not come from Boston.

3.  Four presidents

Scoreboard!  We lead the nation in leaders. No other individual US city has produced more Commanders-in-Chief. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, JFK, and George H.W. Bush were all born here or within a few short suburban minutes of here. Boston RULES!  (So does Milton!)

4.  Anesthesia

Mmmm… ether. Diethyl ether, to be exact. Before this knockout solvent was first used at Mass General’s “Ether Dome,” you had to chug a bottle of whiskey to endure surgery… while remaining totally awake. 

5. Better beer forever

Fact: without Boston Beer Company, there might not even be a craft beer movement. Thanks in large part to their efforts, you can now get extremely hoppy beers in all 50 states. Please enjoy the higher ABVs responsibly.

6. Smarter people

Boston is really good at two things: drinking and thinking. Our world-class colleges and universities (now 60+) have been making brainy Americans brainier for nearly 400 years. How do you like THEM apples?

7. The telephone

After a couple of “Booyah!” moments in his Boston lab, Alexander Graham Bell patented the first US telephone in 1876. Ring, ring!  Hello… it’s the future. Funny that we barely use them for talking anymore. Lol.

8. Microwave ovens

While building magnetrons at Raytheon in 1945, Percy Spencer accidentally melted his chocolate bar with radar waves. The “Radarange” was born, providing American children with the technology to turn G.I. Joes into magma within 30 seconds.

9. Facebook

Please remember to “Like” and “Share” this article. Thanks!

10. A bazillion other game-changing inventions

We make innovation look oh-so-easy. The sewing machine, the telegraph, the disposable safety razor, instant photography, Technicolor film, Rock Band, PET scans, spreadsheets… Yeah, you know you’re super-grateful for spreadsheets.

11. Major grooves

The roster of bands from the Hub speaks for itself:  Boston (obviously), Aerosmith, The Cars, The Pixies, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Morphine, Godsmack, The Breeders, Bobby Brown, New Edition, Dropkick Murphys, Susan Tedeschi, Guster, The Lemonheads, NKOTB & Marky Mark... Extreme. Come on, “Hole Hearted” was really good.

12. Dunkin' Donuts

America runs on them. Without them the whole country would shut down.

13. Fluff 

It’s a jar of marshmallow creme, people. It doesn’t get much more American than that. Plus, you know… Fluffernutters.

14. Mandatory reading

Remember trudging through eagerly reading Little Women, selected works of the Transcendentalists, and perhaps a little Horatio Alger? Probably not, but far more of our literary classics were penned right here in the “Athens of America” than they were in the “Athens of Georgia."

15. Mandatory laughing 

Seriously, where would American comedy be without Bostonians Conan O’Brien, Jane Curtin, Jay Leno, Denis Leary, Bill Burr, Rob Corddry, Eugene Mirman, B.J. Novak, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Louis C.K., and Steven Wright… am I right?  

16. Boston Terriers

Because puppies!  Also, Boston Terriers are the first canine breed to originate in the US of A.

17. Cheers

So apparently we can’t lay claim to the oldest bar in America. But we can claim the longest-running sitcom bar in America. Through it we introduced America to its most important lesson: what good is freedom if you can’t waste it night after night sitting between a fat guy and a postman? 

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Erik Christensen is a freelance writer and a senior project designer at an architecture firm in Boston, with over 17 years of experience in the industry. He also has over 17 years of experience in deadlines, late nights, and strong coffee.
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