“Delaware. We’re in Delaware.”
Together, America is united as one boozy, overweight, hard drug dabbling awesome nation. However, it’s important to remember that we began as a confederation of states, and each of those states very much has its own unique identity which is defined through their citizens, history, and contributions to American society. If you’re looking for the best bourbon in the nation, you’ll probably think of Kentucky before, say, Alaska. But that doesn’t mean Alaska doesn’t live life Americanly by shooting wolves from helicopters and getting paid for no reason other than living in a place not a lot of people want to be.
So when we at AFFotD look to exalt America, sometimes we have to look at each individual piece of the puzzle and determine the most American aspects of each state of this great nation. That is why we are here to present to you a five part series listing the most American qualities of every state in the Union, in order of when they were officially admitted into the United States of America. So grab onto your hats, and get ready to watch us frantically Wikipedia what the hell is in North Dakota.
The first ten states to enter into the Union did so over a span of six months, from December 1787 to June 1788. Granted, the original 13 colonies had fought for independence together, and were pretty much already part of this great nation. For these states, the order of their admission into the Union was just a matter of the date that each state officially ratified the constitution, and some of the original thirteen colonies really dragged their damn feet to get that thing signed. Seriously Virginia, what’s your deal? So when we begin the first installment of the most American aspects of each American state with the first state, the following state can make that claim because they ratified the Constitution with the same fervor of an internet commentator shouting, “First!” This over-eager state, of course, is…
DELAWARE: Admitted on December 7th, 1787
Delaware has the 6th smallest population of any state in America, while being the sixth most densely populated state. This is hardly surprising, as it’s the 49th largest state in the Union, so while its population is less than a million, it’s sort of hard to cram a lot of people in a state that is only 30 miles wide.
What’s that? You’re bored? Census details don’t really excite you? Okay that’s fair. Delaware is a corporate haven, with 63% of all Fortune 500 companies being incorporated there, but you don’t care about that either. You care about beer. Delaware is home to numerous well respected and nationally distributed breweries, including Dogfish Head, which briefly had a TV show about how they make inventive beers and are run by an insufferable douchebag who makes up for it by being a borderline prodigy as far as brewing goes.
To wit, if you look at Dogfish Head alone, you will find Delaware makes beers that are as alcoholic as most liquors, beers using ingredients from every continent (including water from Antarctica), beer based on a 9,000 year old recipe that happens to still be 10% alcohol, and a high gravity beer called Bitches Brew that we honestly shouldn’t need to explain to you.
And really, what’s more American than insane, high alcohol beers and corporations looking for loopholes to avoid taxes living together in harmony?
We all know Philadelphia as the birthplace of our nation, the very city where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the weather is apparently never bad. Pennsylvania truly does have a rich history, and steel produced in the state literally serve as one of the backbones of the nation, but there’s one thing that they do better than any other state that truly shows their American merits.
Irrationally pissed off and highly hysterical sports fans.
Seriously. When you Google “Pennsylvania sports fan incidents” the first result you get is a Wikipedia page with a list of violent spectator incidents in sports. Between the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Phillies you’re left with a tradition of high expectations and temporary insanity when those traditions aren’t met (we’d mention the 76ers but honestly it’s hard to get too riled up over a perennial Eastern Conference 7th seed). For those of you who think people over-reacting to a sporting event is not an especially American activity, we’d first like to point out that there is not much that is more American than getting drunk and then pissed off when millionaires don’t meet you expectations, and secondly we’d like to say shut the fuck up before we torch your car.
NEW JERSEY: Admitted on December 18th, 1787
Oh New Jersey. Poor, poor new Jersey. The most densely populated state in the nation, and the third richest as far as median household income goes, many associate the nation’s third state as a being just a combination of pollution, and Snooki (wait we said pollution already). Some people might associate it with Atlantic City, and while we support the hell out of some seedy casino gambling, pretty much any state with a large body of water or an Indian reservation has places you can gamble the shakes away. And while we love pollution, because fuck nature, if we’re going to go on record and say that the best thing about your state is that it produces a lot of garbage, we’d feel kind of dickish.
So let’s just go with The Boss.
While New Jersey has its share of incredible bands (including our editor-in-chief’s favorite band) as far as sheer American music goes, it’s hard to argue with Bruce Springsteen, who embodies both the musical prowess of the state of New Jersey, the ability to crotch slide into the eyeballs of a hundred million people, as well as having a baseball hat hang from your ass pocket while standing in front of a flag. And if this seems like a pithy entry to list as the most American aspect of a state, think about how many states haven’t produced Bruce Springsteen. That’s right, a bunch. Just try to disagree with us.
GEORGIA: Admitted on January 2nd, 1788
Oh Georgia, how you complicate things. The fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution was also one of the original Confederate states of America, and as the last state to rejoin the Union, it’s state flag had the Confederate symbol predominately on it from 1956 to 2001. Jesus guys, you’re really trying to make this tough for us off the bat.
But then there’s Ted Turner. Ted Turner, arguably one of Georgia’s most notable residents, spent his career combining two American dreams: Nepotism (he inherited his business after his father’s death) and insane capitalistic success (Turner Outdoor Advertising was worth $1 million in 1963, and Turner currently has a Net worth of $2 billion, after giving $1 billion to the United Nations Foundation). Turner founded, and based out of Atlanta, a series of media powerhouses. Ted Turner brought the nation CNN, which occasionally manages to fit in news stories in between segments about what people are posting on the CNN Twitter feed, and TNT, which every year brings us the glorious American institution that is Charles Barkley the NBA Analyst.
Plus, as the second largest landowner in America, Turner maintains the largest bison herd in America, which he slaughters and turns into burgers and steaks for Ted’s Montana Grill which always makes us think of our favorite scene in Dances With Wolves when that herd of buffalo is senselessly slaughtered. Because bison is delicious.
(And because we spent the beginning of this making fun of Georgia’s lack of Americanness, we’ll point out that it’s also the birthplace of Coca-Cola, which has done much to assist America in its quest for the perfection of obesity.)
CONNECTICUT: Admitted on January 9th, 1788
Connecticut is known as the Constitution State, or the ESPN state, though we admittedly may have made one of those up. While it is the home of ESPN, and therefore responsible for 95% of every Brett Favre, Lebron James, Tim Tebow, and “Why are the Lakers struggling so much this year” article you’ve ever read, Connecticut is also home to one of our favorite American inventions.
While the Hamburger itself was invented in Tulsa in 1891 by Oscar Bilby, Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, advertises it as the first restaurant to serve hamburgers, and is the oldest hamburger restaurant operating in the United States, having opened as a lunch wagon in 1895. The Library of Congress web site even endorses Louis’ as the first place to serve both hamburgers and steak sandwiches in U.S. history. We don’t know why someone would try to call Connecticut the Nutmeg State when the government would not stand in their way to call themselves the Hamburger State. So we’ll do it for them.
Connecticut is the Hamburger State. God bless you for that, Connecticut.
Thus ends part one of our ten part series, covering the most American aspects of every state in this fair union. Part two will start with Massachusetts and go through Virginia, and will likely feature a whole lot more discussion about alcohol, because at this point even we’re surprised we’ve only bragged about American booze once so far throughout this entire feature. Let’s just say we’re really excited for when we get to Kentucky in part three. Until then, take solace in knowing that each of you are awesomely American no matter what state you hail from. Yes, even you, Hawaiians.