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20 Things America Has Actually Done Right

1. Defeating the Defense of Marriage Act.

Defeating the Defense of Marriage Act.
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

I mean, yeah, we CREATED it in the first place. But still, progress!

2. The civil rights movement.

3. Electing its first black president.

Electing its first black president.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

No matter your politics, this was a profound and poignant moment for our whole nation.

4. Putting someone on the moon.

20 Things America Has Actually Done Right

In the words of internet commenters: FIRST.

5. The Great American Novel.

The Great American Novel.

Is it The Great Gatsby? To Kill a Mockingbird? Beloved? Either way, we’ve churned out some stately works of literature.

6. Rock ‘n’ roll.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

You shouldn’t need a caption to tell you who this is.

 

There’s been a ton of great music amidst our amber waves of grain, and even though Britain can lay claim to the Beatles and the Stones, we’re the ones who invented rock (and hell, blues) in the first place.

7. Building interstate highway systems.

Building interstate highway systems.

Thanks to the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, we now have 47,182 miles of interstate, making it the world’s second longest highway system after China’s.

8. Baseball.

Baseball.
Keystone / Getty Images

The veritable origins of baseball are murky, but you have America to thank for Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Joe Dimaggio, and the rest.

9. Building the Panama Canal.

Building the Panama Canal.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Well, we finished building it in 1914, after France couldn’t get it together.

10. The Wright Brothers inventing flight.

The Wright Brothers inventing flight.

It’s fun to fly.

11. Ice.

Ice.

C’mon, rest of the world. Ice in drinks is DELICIOUS.

12. Jack Daniels.

Jack Daniels.

Founded in Lynchburg, Tenn., in 1875, Jack Daniels has been delicious ever since. (NB: If you visit the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, they will give you FREE SAMPLES.)

13. Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi Hendrix.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Britain has Queen, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Beatles, and pretty much everyone else. But we have the GREATEST GUITARIST OF ALL TIME.

14. Shark Week.

Shark Week.

15. The telephone.

The telephone.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Every time you sext, you are living out Alexander Graham Bell’s great vision for the modern age.

16. NPR.

NPR.

I listened to “Car Talk” and I didn’t even have a car at the time.

17. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, 1964.

The Beatles on Ed Sullivan , 1964.

“Now yesterday and today our theater’s been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agreed with me that the city never has the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool, who call themselves the Beatles. Now tonight, you’re gonna twice be entertained by them. Right now, and again in the second half of our show. Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles. Let’s bring them on.”

18. Jon Stewart.

20 Things America Has Actually Done Right

A national treasure.

19. Urinals.

Urinals.

I’ve never used one, but apparently they’re pretty cool. (And were first patented in the U.S.)

20. Beyoncé.

20 Things America Has Actually Done Right

THANK YOU, TEXAS.

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