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chapter 92: The Latest Phase of Immigration - Viscount James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, vol. 2 
The American Commonwealth, with an Introduction by Gary L. McDowell (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995). Vol. 2.
Part of: The American Commonwealth, 2 vols.
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The Latest Phase of Immigration
Since the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries of the Christian Era, when vast displacements of population took place in Europe and Western Asia, carrying many Teutonic and Slavonic tribes out of their ancient seats into the territories of the Roman Empire, no age has seen migrations of the races of men comparable in magnitude to those which have since 1845 poured like a flood into the United States.1 These new settlers have come from all parts of Europe except France, which few leave, and Spain, whose emigrants go to the Spanish-speaking parts of the New World. Latterly some have come from the Levant also.
The immigration falls into three periods, or rather consists of three successive streams, each of which brought on the scene a new race or group of races, while the former streams still continued to flow, though with a diminished volume.
Ever since the beginning of the nineteenth century there had been a steady but slender influx of settlers, which did not exceed 20,000 per annum until 1820. From that number it rose slowly with the prosperity of the country, and latterly with the cheaper and more rapid transportation by steam vessels, till 1842, when 100,000 entered. With the years 1845–46, the time of the terrible famine in Ireland, begins the first or Irish period of the full rush of immigration.2 In the ten years 1845–55, more than 1,250,000 people came from Ireland to the United States. The largest number was in 1851, when 221,253 landed. Thenceforward the flow was generally large, varying greatly, but seldom below 30,000 and sometimes as high as 80,000. Of late years it has tended to decrease, and in 1913 was only 27,876; the total from 1820 to 1909, inclusive, being 4,218,107, a number equal to the whole population of Ireland in 1909. Upon the top of this Celtic immigration there soon after came a second great wave, and this time from the Teutonic parts of Europe. The arrivals from Germany rose suddenly in 1852 from 72,000 to 145,000, and in 1854 reached 215,000, a number only once thereafter exceeded, viz., in 1882, when the total was 250,000. Since 1894 there has been a decline, and in 1913 only 34,329 immigrants came from Germany. The total number from 1820 till 1909 was 5,320,312.
Somewhat later began the inrush from the three Scandinavian countries. Insignificant till 1849, the number suddenly rose in 1866 to 13,000, and thereafter reached from 30,000 to 50,000 during many years, the highest tide-mark being 105,000 in 1882. In 1913 the number was 32,267, and the total from 1820 to 1909 is given as 1,896,139.
All this time the immigration from the rest of Europe had been trifling, except of course that from Great Britain, whence there came a steady though never copious stream. But in 1880 the theretofore small flow from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy rose swiftly, and in 1882 there was also an increase from Italy and Russia. The great prosperity then reigning in the United States was causing a strong indraught, and the immigration from all quarters reached a volume not equalled thereafter till 1907. From 1882 onwards other parts also of Europe have been affected; and after 1890, as the arrivals from Ireland and Germany began slowly to decline, Central and Southern Europe became the main source of the gigantic flood of new immigrants, whose total numbered in 1882, 789,000 and in 1913, 1,197,892. Czechs, Poles, Slovaks, Croats, Serbs, Magyars, Finns, Russians—these last nearly all Jews—Slovenes, Roumans (mostly from Transylvania), and Greeks, with a smaller number of Armenians, Syrians, and Bulgarians, have (taken together) latterly far outnumbered the entering Teutons, as the Italians have far outnumbered the Irish. It is computed that over eight millions in all entered between 1900 and the end of 1909, and that over thirty millions have entered in the seventy years between 1840 and 1913, twice what the total white population of the United States was in the former year.
The population of the United States was in 1840 almost wholly—perhaps as to seven-eighths—of British origin, i.e., roughly two-thirds Teutonic and one-third Celtic. Now it is a remarkable fact that in the immigration of the next fifty years, 1840–90, the Teutonic and Celtic elements which entered corresponded pretty nearly to the proportions which those two elements bore to one another in the population of 1840, Teutons, including Germans, Scandinavians, and English from the Teutonic parts of Britain, constituting about two-thirds, Irish about one-third, of the whole. Thus the racial composition of the American people as a whole was not markedly altered during that half-century, the proportion of Teutons to Celts remaining about the same. Neither was the proportion of religious persuasions much altered, for though nearly all the Irish and many Germans were Roman Catholics, all the Scandinavians, nearly all the English, and a majority of the Germans were Protestants.
Far otherwise is it with the third influx. New elements, hitherto unrepresented in the American people, and unlike either the Teuton or the Celt, have now been added. The American people of the future will be an amalgam from a much greater number of component elements than had entered into it theretofore. Moreover, these new accretions, except the Jews, Greeks, some of the Roumans, the Finns, and the Armenians, belong almost wholly to the Roman Church, so that if the children of the immigrants remain connected with that church, its share of the population will be relatively larger.
The chief causes of great migrations have in time past been four: (1) war; (2) political or religious oppression; (3) the desire of a growing population to find fresh land to cultivate; (4) the movement of labour from regions where it is abundant and cheap to regions where it is scarce and dear. Of these four, the first has not been operative in the present case, and the second only as respects Jews and Armenians. It is the third, and latterly even more markedly the fourth cause, that have brought about this vast outflow from the Old World to the New. The stirring of men’s minds out of their fixed and ancient ways has reached even the illiterate peasantry of backward regions, and made them desire to better their condition. But the outflow has been accelerated and increased by two facts without precedent in earlier times. One is the extraordinary cheapness and swiftness of transportation by sea, the other the facilities which modern methods of advertising have enabled steamship companies to use, and which they have strenuously used, to induce the peasants of the most secluded corners of Europe to seek new homes beyond the ocean.3 Some indeed come, not to settle, but to earn money and return. Yet these also help the movement, for those immigrants, especially Italians and Austro-Hungarian Slavs, who return home with their earnings after working for some months or a year in America, scatter abroad tales of the high wages they have gained, and thus excite the curiosity and eagerness of their neighbours. So the impulse spreads, and more and more are drawn from their humble homes to the Western Land of Promise.
The quality of the earlier immigrants, Irish and Teutonic, is too well known to need description. Many were uneducated, the Scandinavians probably least so, but they were intelligent peasants, of strong stocks, industrious, energetic, and capable of quickly accommodating themselves to the conditions of their new land and blending with its people. The Slavs and Italians from Central and Southern Europe are also peasants, and also industrious.4 But they, and nearly all others of the newly arrived races, arrive more largely illiterate than the Germans or Irish, and are on a lower grade of civilization. The Jews and Greeks are more frequently small traders than agriculturists, but are also illiterate, and very clannish, less inclined than any other group to mix with native Americans or other immigrants. This third stream of newcomers, taken in all its elements, is, therefore, socially below the two earlier ones, and in every way more alien to American habits and standards.
It was the increase of this new flood that led to the passing of immigration laws more stringent than had previously been thought needful, laws which have established a system of rigorous tests for admission, following on a law forbidding labourers to be imported under a contract to work if there are any persons in the United States who are unemployed in the particular kind of work. Under the present laws an average number slightly exceeding one per cent are annually rejected. A growing zeal for sanitary measures and an alarm at the entrance of many persons likely to prove undesirable citizens had much to do with this legislation, but something must also be ascribed to the desire of the labour unions to keep out as many as possible of those who come as competitors for labour, willing to take lower wages than those received by the workmen who were already American citizens.5 Public opinion did not wish to see the established standard of wages and living reduced.
The difference between these recent immigrants and the Germans and Scandinavians who preceded them appears in this also, that whereas the former started at once for the land, and set themselves to fell the woods or till the prairies of the West, the bulk of the later comers have either, like the Jews and Greeks, flocked into the cities and taken to the life of retail trading or of handicrafts and petty industries there, or have, like the Slovaks and Poles and Italians, found occupation in the mining districts or in railway construction and other forms of unskilled work.6 Today most of the hard, rough toil of the country is everywhere done by recent immigrants from Central or Southern Europe, or (to a smaller extent in the North and scarcely at all in the West) by Negroes. The Irish and the urban part of the German population have risen in the scale, and no longer form the bottom stratum.
Few indeed among the Slavonic or Italian immigrants have either the knowledge of the country or the enterprise or the capital needed to take up a farm, small as is the capital needed even now, when land is not so abundant as in 1890. But already one hears of Poles and Finns in New England and Bohemians in Iowa, and a few Russians (not Jewish) in one or two places settling down to cultivate little plots of ground, and doubtless the number of those who spread out in this way will go on increasing. At present, however, it is chiefly in New York and the country all round it, in Chicago and in the mining regions of Pennsylvania and the West, such for instance as Colorado, that the traveller is struck by the presence of a population obviously non-American and not even West European. The Jews, who occupy a large district in New York, and seem likely to remain a city-dwelling folk, form nearly one-fourth of its population. Both they and the Italians are numerous in Boston, though that ancient home of Puritanism is now rather an Irish than an American city.7 In parts of New Jersey and southern New York one may in asking one’s way along the roads find hardly anyone who can speak either English or German. So in Pennsylvania the Bible Society distributes copies of the New Testament in forty-two languages, while forty-nine are said to be spoken in New York City. In Chicago there are fourteen groups, of not less than ten thousand persons each, speaking foreign languages. The foreign-born and their offspring constituted in 19108 more than one-third of the total population of the country and rather more than half of the white population of the Northern and Western states, for it need hardly be said that there has been practically no immigration into the Southern states either of Celts, Teutons, or Slavs, though a little of Italians into Louisiana and of Germans into Texas. The older South (Virginia and the Carolinas) is the most purely English part of the United States.
A certain part of this recent immigration is transitory. Italians and Slovaks, for instance, after they have by thrift accumulated a sum which is large for them, return to their native villages, and carry back with them new notions and habits which set up a ferment among the simple rustics of a Calabrian or North Hungarian Valley.9 For the United States the practice has the double advantage of supplying a volume of cheap unskilled labour when employment is brisk and of removing it when employment becomes slack, so that the number of the unemployed, often very large when a financial crisis has brought bad times, is rapidly reduced, and there is more work for the permanently settled part of the labouring class. It is the easier to go backwards and forwards, because two-thirds among all the races, except the Jews, are men, either unmarried youths or persons who have left their wives behind. (Many, however, bring out their wives afterwards.) Nor are there many children. Four-fifths of the whole who enter are stated to be between fourteen and forty-five years of age.
Between those of the new immigrants who work in mines or on the construction of public works and the native Americans there is very little contact and practically no admixture. Even in the cities the Italians and the Jews keep to themselves, often occupying poor quarters exclusively their own. Sometimes, however, a group of Magyars or Czechs, working on a quarry or in a factory, will awaken the kindly interest of their neighbours who may, perhaps, build a chapel for them and gather their growing boys into a Young Men’s Christian Association. On the whole, however, they seem to be left pretty much to the mercies, not always tender, of their employers. The condition of many who toil in the coal mines and iron furnaces of Pennsylvania is described as wretched. But they earn as much in two months as they would have earned in a year at home. Thus the outdraught from Europe continues, and has now excited so much disquiet in Hungary, as threatening a scarcity of labour, that the government has been taking steps to discourage the departure of the peasants.10
That the recent immigrants should contribute largely to the crime of the districts where they abound is only natural, for everywhere it is from the poorest and least educated class that the largest proportion of offenders come. Fourteen per cent of the aliens over ten years of age in New York State are illiterate. This fact, their strange tongues, and, for the first few years, a certain want of finish in their personal habits, have created among native Americans a prejudice against them which is not altogether just, for the great majority are, when they come, simple, honest folk, who, having heard of America as the land of freedom and prosperity, are prepared to love it and to serve it by hard and patient work.
The more ignorant, and especially those who go to seek employment in mines, quarries, and railroad construction, do not apply for citizenship. In 1906 a statute was passed placing the naturalization of alien immigrants under the supervision of the Bureau of Immigration, and providing, among other things, that the applicant for naturalization must be neither an anarchist nor a polygamist, must intend to make the United States his home, and must be able to speak English. Adherence to anarchist or polygamist opinions is indeed also made one of the grounds for refusing entrance to an immigrant. The object of the law was, however, not merely to exclude undesirable persons from citizenship, but to prevent persons who might desire to return to their country of origin with the character of American citizens, from acquiring that character and the protection abroad which it implies. The early immigrants, Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians, usually applied for and obtained citizenship very soon after their arrival. The political organizations laid hold of them and got them enrolled, desiring their votes. The more recent immigrants, and especially the Italians and Slavs, show less desire, and have not been looked after by the parties with the same assiduity. In 1900 more than half of the immigrants of those races were still aliens. It is generally the more ignorant, and especially those who do not settle on the land, who so remain. The Jewish immigrants, ignorant as they often are, are keen-witted, and as they mean to stay in America, they appreciate the advantage of becoming citizens at once. Numbering in New York about a million all told, they are already a power in politics. Many have joined Tammany Hall, and as they are even more cohesive than the Irish, their share in the control of that organization promises to be a large one.
Not a few of the immigrants have brought with them from Russia or Eastern Germany or Poland, the tenets of Socialism, and some few the doctrines of a revolutionary anarchism. The murder of President McKinley by such an one (born, however, in America), together with the inflammatory harangues delivered by adherents of this extreme creed, have done much to draw on them, even on those who nowise deserve it, the suspicion of native Americans.
If the influence in politics of the new immigrants has as yet been slender in proportion to their numbers, this is not merely because many of them still remain nonvoters, but also because they have not had time to learn to care about political topics. Those Southern Italians, for instance, who vote are said to be generally led to do so by pecuniary inducements. The first question which really lays hold on and appeals directly to the newcomer from strange lands, the first thing that brings him into direct touch with American life, is a labour dispute. Little as he has known of such matters before, a leader of his own race and tongue can easily draw him into a labour union, and when he is in it, and especially when a strike begins, no one can be more ardent or combative. Some unions have racial sections, which debate in their own language, and soon master the facts of the situation. If they are led by one not of their own race, he is usually an Irishman, such is the Irish aptitude for leadership. Employers who have brought together foreigners and put their faith in them as strikebreakers have sometimes been wofully disappointed. Indeed, the Pole or Slovak follows a militant chief more blindly than a native American would. He has less to lose, and his standard of comfort is so low that the privations of a strike affect him less.
In enquiring how far these newest comers are intermingling with the preexisting population, one must carefully distinguish between the original immigrants and their children born in the United States. The latter attend the common schools—in places where truancy laws are enforced—mix with the native inhabitants, grow up speaking English, and mostly forget their own language before they reach manhood. So far from desiring to remember it and to cling to their old nationality, they are eager to cast it away and to become in every sense Americans. Often they treat their parents, because foreign-born, with a sort of contempt. However slight may be their social contact with their native neighbours, they receive the same instruction, they tend to form the same habits of life, they read the same newspapers, they frequent the same public entertainments, and the more capable rise before long into positions where they are not merely units in a herd of workers “bossed” by an American or Irish foreman, but have a chance of forcing their own way upward. Exactly how far they intermarry outside their own race is not easy to say, but we may safely assume that those who have been born in the United States, or, entering very young, have grown up under American influences, find their race no insurmountable obstacle to alliances with those of native stock. There are more men than women among them, and the men try to marry into a social stratum a little above their own, a native American girl, if possible, or an Irish one. In such a land as the United States distinctions of race, unless marked by distinctions of colour, count for little.
Both as respects social admixture, however, and as respects propensity to crime, one must emphasize the difference between immigrants settling in large cities, or in mining regions, and those who are scattered out into smaller cities or country districts. In the latter they soon tend to mingle with the other residents, and the children grow up under similar and fairly wholesome conditions. But in such places as New York or Chicago they keep to themselves, often in streets inhabited entirely by those of the same race. It is difficult for parents who must themselves toil all day long to retain any control over children who enjoy the license and are exposed to the temptations of a vast city. Accordingly, the percentage of juvenile crime among the children of the foreign-born is more than twice as great as it is among children of native white parents.11 This is so easily explicable by the conditions under which they live that it need not be taken to indicate moral inferiority. It has often happened that when people of rude and simple habits come into a more civilized environment they lose their best native qualities and acquire the vices of civilization before its virtues. Out of this transitory phase the children of the immigrants may ere long pass.
Of the East Asiatic races that have entered the United States on the Pacific side of the continent it has not been necessary to speak in this chapter, because their immigration has been stopped. Statutes passed at the urgent instance of Californian workingmen, who disliked the competition of Chinese coolies, exclude all Chinese, except persons of the educated class, such as merchants, students, and travellers for pleasure; while under an arrangement made with the Japanese government in 1908, the influx of Japanese labourers, which was rising rapidly, has also been stopped. In 1910 there were in the United States 56,756 foreign-born Chinese, and it is possible that the number may increase slightly by illicit importation on the frontiers of Mexico and Canada. In 1910 there were 67,744 foreign-born Japanese; and since then many have departed and scarce any have arrived. Neither they, nor Chinese, nor Malays, nor Hindus, can be naturalized, but the children of these races, born in the United States, are born citizens, and may vote if registered, so any large addition to their numbers is all the more deprecated. It is needless to add that they remain quite distinct from the white inhabitants. The feeling against the entrance of the yellow races, less strong against the Chinese than it was in 1880, and qualified among the employers by the desire to have plenty of steady labour, is still strong enough to maintain the policy of exclusion, and does not seem likely to disappear in any period which can at present be foreseen. A like feeling exists in Australia and has there dictated an even more rigid warning off of all Asiatics. The humanitarian sentiment towards other races which was so strong in the middle of last century has visibly declined. No one, except a fruit grower who wants Japanese labourers for his orchards, openly complains of the exclusion,12 and the all too frequent outrages perpetrated by whites upon men of a different colour excite less censure than they would have done in the last generation.
Two large questions remain to be considered. The first is, Will European immigration continue from 1910 till 1960 on a scale similar to that of the years 1860 to 1910, during which more than twenty millions have arrived? To answer this question we must consider two sets of facts: first, the capacity of Europe to send emigrants out, and secondly the attractiveness for immigrants of the United States.
It has already been noted that the number coming from Ireland now averages only about one-sixth of what it was from 1847 to 1854. The Ireland of 1910 has about half as many people as she had in 1845, and her agricultural conditions are so much more favourable now than they were then that the motives for expatriation are less. It is therefore probable that henceforth fewer Irishmen will leave their country. So also as to Germany. She sends out from one-fourth to one-fifth of the number that came in the years between 1881 and 1891. The drop in Norse and Swedish immigration is less marked, but it averaged from 1905 to 1909 less than a half of what it was between 1880 and 1893. One may fairly conclude such surplus population as there was when the large outflow began has now been drained off, so that what will in future depart will be merely any natural excess of population beyond those for whom there is opportunity enough at home. In the Scandinavian countries, especially in Sweden, a scarcity of labour has begun to be felt, and the government deplores even such emigration as still continues.
As respects the new sources of migration—Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia—no decline is yet evident, and the fluctuations which are recorded seem to depend on the state of the labour market in America. But it may be assumed that what has happened in Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia will presently happen in Southeastern Europe also. The large outflow of peasants will leave more land available for the next generation. Wages will rise as labour grows scarcer, so there will be less reason for emigrating. As these countries were not overpopulated in the sense in which Ireland was overpopulated in 1840, the overflow which marked the years from 1890 to 1910 can hardly last much longer, unless, indeed, the sluices be raised in Russia. From that vast multitude of peasants new Slavonic millions might come, were the government to permit their departure. At present they emigrate mostly to Siberia.
The other side of the question relates to the attraction which America has exercised. Will the prospects of comfort and freedom she offers continue to stir the hopes of the European peasantry as they have done? Land is in the fertile West already scarcer and higher in price than it was, and virgin land is almost unattainable, except in the limited areas which are being made available by irrigation or by the new processes of dry farming. Those who leave Europe to till the soil elsewhere have now quite as great, if not greater, allurements in Canada or Argentina, and many who might formerly have gone to the United States are now seeking one or other of those countries. On the other hand, there is still a great demand for unskilled labour in the mine and the quarry and the forest, as well as for the construction of railroads. This is likely to continue for many a year to come, though every now and then a passing depression of trade may intervene to throw multitudes out of work.
It may therefore be expected that the natives of those parts of Europe, such as Russia, Poland, and South Italy, where wages are lowest and conditions least promising, will continue their movement to the United States until there is a nearer approach to an equilibrium between the general attractiveness of life for the poorer classes in the Old World and in the New. But the stream is likely to diminish in volume, as the outflow from a reservoir diminishes with the falling level of the water within. We must not expect the forty years from 1910 to 1950 to show an addition of twenty millions coming from without to the population of the United States, as did the forty years from 1870 to 1910.
The vast majority of the immigrants enter by the port of New York, and are on their arrival sent to Ellis Island, a rocky islet in the Hudson River, where they are inspected by officers of the Immigration Bureau before being permitted to proceed to their several destinations. In the great hall where they are penned together like sheep, there are a number of iron staircases, by which the immigrants mount from the ground floor to the floor above where they are inspected under the stringent provisions of the law. The spectator, as he stands listening to the incessant tramp, tramp of the feet of the men, women, and children as their shoes ring upon these iron steps, seems to hear the races of the Old World marching like an army into the New, and thinks of the tribes from Northern Europe who climbed the steep rock-paths over the Alpine passes whence they descended into the Roman Empire. Those came as conquerors; these come as humble suppliants for entrance into the land of a people rich and strong. But their coming cannot but affect that people. There were in the United States only forty-eight millions of white people, when the ten millions from Central and Southern Europe who have arrived since 1885 began to enter, an addition to the nation such as no nation ever received before. These ten millions, whose children are now counted by millions more, have indeed hardly yet begun to blend with the older population. But they must ultimately do so. Already they tell on the social and economic life of the country. Long before the end of the century their blood will have been largely mingled with that of the Anglo-American and Irish and German inhabitants. Thus the reflection is forced upon us, What changes in the character and habits of the American people will this influx of new elements make—elements wholly diverse not only in origin but in ideas and traditions, and scarcely less diverse from the Irish and Teutonic immigrants of previous years than from the men of predominantly English stock who inhabited the country befre the Irish or the Continental Teutons arrived?
This is the crucial question to which every study of the immigrant problem leads up. It is a matter of grave import for the world, seeing that it is virtually a new phenomenon in world history, because no large movement of the races of mankind from one region of the earth to another has ever occurred under conditions at all resembling these. But it is primarily momentous for the United States, and that all the more so because these new immigrants go to swell the class which already causes some disquietude, the class of unskilled labourers, the poorest, the most ignorant, and the most unsettled part of the population.
In the United States the uneasiness which this invasion excites takes shape in the question so often on men’s lips, Will the new immigrants be good Americans? In the most familiar sense of these words the enquiry can be easily answered. If by the words “good Americans” is meant “patriotic Americans,” patriotic they will be. They will be proud of America, loyal to the flag, quick to discard their European memories and sentiments, eager to identify themselves with everything distinctive of their new country. Within a few years the Italian or the Magyar, the Pole or the Rouman deems himself an American even if he be not yet a citizen. Much more do his children glory in the flag under which they were born. So far as politics are concerned, the unity and the homogeneity of the nation will not ultimately suffer.
Neither is there ground for apprehending any decline in the intellectual quality or practical alertness of the composite people of the future. Nearly all the instreaming races are equal in intelligence to the present inhabitants. Of the acuteness of Jews and Greeks and Italians it is superfluous to speak. One is told that the children of these stocks are among the brightest in the public schools, and that in New York they use the public libraries more than any others do. So, too, the Poles and the Czechs are naturally gifted races, quite as apt to learn as are the Germans, even if less solid and persistent. Than the Armenians there is no abler race in the world. A blending of races has often in past times been followed by an increase in intellectual fertility. It is possible that from among the Jews and Poles with their musical faculty, or the Italians with their artistic faculty, there may arise those who, stimulated by the new opportunities that surround them here, will carry the creative power of the country to a higher level of production in those branches of art than it has yet reached.
Whether the ethical quality of the nation will be affected, it is more difficult to conjecture. Of the races that are now entering, some have suffered in their birthland from economic and political conditions unfavourable to veracity and courage. Others, banded together against authority, have become prone to violence. But there are others, the Piedmontese and Lombards for instance, who come of a manly and industrious stock. The Czechs and the Poles, the Magyars and the Slovenes, do not appear to one who has seen them in their European homes to have less than their Teutonic neighbours of the virtues that belong to simple peasant folk. If the new immigrants or their children are found to sink below the average of conduct in the class they enter and show themselves more disorderly or dishonest than the native American, this will happen, not because the races are naturally more criminal, but rather because the conditions under which they begin life in their new country are unfavourable. The immigrant is cut loose from his old ties and from the influences that restrained him. He is far from his parents and his priest. He has no longer the public opinion of his neighbours to regard, no longer any disapproval of the local magnate to fear. He does not see round him the signs of a vigilant, even if oppressive, public authority which were conspicuous in his native village. In the rough, unsettled, perhaps homeless, life he leads, a tossing atom in a seething crowd who toil for employers with whom they have no healthy human relation, propensities towards evil are apt to spring into activity, and the softer feelings as well as the sense of duty to perish from inanition. The immigrant’s child is in one way better placed, for he is influenced by his American school teachers and school companions, but in another way worse, because the traditions and habits of the simple life of rural Europe have for him faded away altogether, if indeed he ever knew them. He starts in life as an American, but without the fundamental ideas and ingrained traditions of the New Englander or Virginian of the old stock, for these ideas and sentiments do not go with the language and the right to vote. Whether his religion will cling to him remains to be seen. Its power is at any rate likely to be weaker, perhaps least weak among the Jews, whom their faith and their habits hold apart. Though they also are divided into sects some of which render slight or no obedience to the Mosaic law, they show much less tendency to blend with the rest of the population than do the other races. How long the Greeks and the Armenians will be kept distinct by loyalty to their ancient churches I will not venture to predict. Among all the immigrants the grasp of religion seems to loosen; many are lost to their church in the second and even more in the third generation.
So far we have been considering the influence of the immigrant on American society as a member of it, not so much in the way of influencing others, as in that of constituting one of a body whose conduct forms a part of the average conduct of the inhabitants of the country.
There is, however, another aspect of the matter, really different though apt to be confounded with that already considered. It is this, What difference to the national type of character will be produced by the infusion of these new strains of blood? Before the year 1950 arrives, the children and grandchildren of the immigrants who have entered since 1885 will be distinguished from other Americans only by their surnames, and sometimes by their features and complexion.13 They will no longer be Poles or Italians or Slovaks, but Americans. They will have intermarried with the original Anglo-Americans, and with other immigrants, so that the generation born in 1950 will contain racial elements quite diverse from any that were present a century before. In some parts of the country these racial elements may be so largely represented, that prima facie one would expect them to be traceable in the physical and mental characteristics of the inhabitants. When a stream of whitish hue receives a reddish stream with even one-third its volume, it runs thenceforth with water of an altered tint. Will something similar happen to the people of the United States?
Here let us pause to note a significant factor in the situation. It has been observed since about 1870 that the fecundity of the original Anglo-American race tends to decline. Benjamin Franklin considered six children to constitute the normal American family. The average is now slightly above two children, and the percentage of childless marriages much larger than formerly. Birth-rate statistics show that whereas the number of births to the thousand of population is in Hungary about 40, in Germany 36, in England and Scotland, Norway and Denmark 30, it is in Massachusetts and Michigan only 25, in Rhode Island and Connecticut 24. In some states of the Union it is doubtless higher than in these four. But in all the Northern states it is much smaller among native-born Americans than among the immigrants. In Massachusetts the birth rate of the foreign-born is three times as large as that among the native-born, and the decline in fecundity among American-born as compared with foreign-born all over the Union is indubitable. Thus we have the fact, not only that far more than half the total white population was in 1910 either foreign or the offspring of foreigners, but the further fact, that at least twice as many children were then being born to the foreign-born as to the native-born. Should immigration continue on a large scale, and should this disparity in the fertility of the foreign and the native stocks also continue, the white population, which was in 1840 almost wholly Anglo-American, and in 1910 half native and half foreign, may in 1950 be three-fourths or more of foreign blood, i.e., three-fourths of all the inhabitants of the United States may be the offspring of those who have entered America since 1840.
Two qualifying facts may deserve mention. One is that a large part, possibly one-half, of these three-fourths of foreign stock to be expected in 1950 may probably be the descendants of those who have come from the United Kingdom, from Germany, and from Scandinavia, and the smaller part, perhaps 15 to 25 per cent of the total white population, the children of immigrants from Central and Southern Europe. The other is that the fecundity of the foreign stock already shows signs of declining in their new American environment. It is certainly greater among the immigrants than among their offspring born in the United States. The latter seem to be caught by the desire to reach a higher standard of living and rise in the social scale, a desire apt to express itself, among the ambitious, in taking a native American or an Irish wife. Thus, in the second generation, families tend to be smaller; and so by 1950 the birth rate of the children of foreigners may have sunk to the native American level.
Be these things as they may—and of course all forecasts must be speculative where the data are still so imperfect—the problem confronts us: What will be the result on the American people of this infusion we see beginning of a great volume of new blood drawn from races unlike the original Anglo-American stock?
In the problem there are two factors. One is the hereditary race character, by which an average Italian or Jew or Pole is born different from the average American of British ancestry. As racial quality shows itself in the lines of the face and the colour of hair and eyes, so is it also distinguishable in certain intellectual and emotional traits. The virtues and the faults of a Tuscan are not quite the same as those of a Prussian.
The other factor is the environment in which a child grows up to manhood and by which his character is moulded. An Italian or Polish infant, brought up in an American family and mixing during youth only with Americans, may in manhood still retain some racial traits, but they will be far less marked than if he had grown up in Naples or Krakow among people of his own nation. What is the relative importance of these two factors, heredity and environment? When ten or twelve millions of Italians, Poles, and other “new immigrants” have intermarried with Americans, will their offspring give evidence in physical and mental quality of a diverse element brought into the nation, or will the social forces at work which are moulding all persons born in America overlay and end by obliterating these racial differences?
(1) Scientific students are so far from agreed as to many of the phenomena of hereditary transmission that while stating that side of the problem, I will not venture to discuss it. But the other side is within the field of any observer who gives steady attention to the facts. So let us note some facts that show what in the United States the power of environment is capable of effecting.
The climate and food in North America are different from those that have helped to form in past centuries the type of each of these European races. Some observers claim to have already discovered among the American-born children of certain among the immigrant stocks, such as Jews and Southern Italians, physical divergences, particularly in skull form, from the normal European characteristics of the race as examined in the foreign-born parents of these children.14 The enquiry is still incomplete, but some sort of divergence may well be expected after there has been time enough for the new conditions to work, and if physical structure is affected in the way which the observations made on Jews and Italians indicate, much more may mental changes follow.
(2) The immigrants belong to so many different races that no one race can in the long run maintain any distinctive type. Even should the first generation born in the United States tend to marry each within its own race, the next generation will not; and before the end of the twentieth century all will have been commingled, and the blood of the nation of that time will have been the product of many different strains. So the intellectual and moral character of the future American, whether or no altered by qualities added from these new races, will not bear a mark distinctive of any one of them. Large as may be the contribution of all the immigrants taken together, the contribution of each taken separately will be too small to leave a permanent trace. Neither the four and a half millions of Irishmen nor the five million of Germans who have come since 1845, though they may possibly have modified the national character, have added anything that can be called distinctively Irish or distinctively German.
(3) The point in which the present case of race fusion most differs from all preceding cases, is in the immense assimilative potency of the environment. Never before did less advanced races come into a country and people which possessed a like capacity for permeating newcomers with its ways of thinking, its tastes, its habits of life. The American type of civilization, whether in its material and economic, or in its social and political aspect, is at least as distinctive as any the Old World can show. The effigy and device—so to speak—which the American die impresses on every kind of metal placed beneath its stamp, is sharp and clear. The schools, the newspapers, the political institutions, the methods of business, the social usages, the general spirit in which things are done, all grasp and mould and remake a newcomer from the first day of his arrival, and turn him out an American far more quickly and more completely than the like influences transform a stranger into a citizen in any other country. Nowhere is life so intense; nowhere are men so proud of the greatness and prosperity of their country. These things strengthen the assimilative force of American civilization, because here the ties that held the stranger to the land of his birth are quickly broken and soon forgotten. His transformation is all the swifter and more thorough because it is a willing transformation.
Even, therefore, should another ten millions pour in from Southern and Eastern Europe, even should this infusion of new blood affect the quality of the nation in some way not yet to be foreseen, the type seems destined to stand, retaining the features that make it distinctively American. Changes in national character there will of course be, for a nation is always changing, even if it receives no accretions from without. It changes with the events that befall it and the influences that play on it from age to age. As the Americans of 1850, who had not yet been affected by immigration, were different from those of 1750, so the Americans of a.d. 2000 will in any case be different from those of 1900, nor will it be then possible to determine how much of the difference should be ascribed to the addition of new racial elements, how much to the working of other economic and moral causes. Thus the problem of ascertaining the effect of the commingling of a group of widely diverse and less advanced racial stocks with a stock and a civilization of unusual assimilative power may be no nearer solution then than it is now.
If the incoming of these masses of uneducated European peasants should, as some fear, be followed by a decline, either generally or in the places where they chiefly settle, of respect for the law and of the ethical standards generally, the cause will lie not so much in any moral inferiority of the immigrants as in the unfavourable conditions which surround them and their offspring in a land with whose people they have little in common, and where most of them are huddled together in the slums of vast cities, having lost one set of guiding influences before they have gained another. In these conditions there does lie a danger, and it is the greater because the aggregation of multitudes of men in huge industrial centres where the social relations that in former generations linked the poorer to the richer and more educated scarcely exist today, is itself a phenomenon of serious import. Grave and urgent, therefore, is the need for efforts to reach and befriend the immigrants and to form in their children high ideals of American citizenship. Much is already being done. The teachers in the schools of some of the cities realize the need and are devoting themselves in a worthy spirit to the work. So, too, in many places the churches, wisely avoiding whatever savours of proselytism, as well as the university and neighbourhood “settlements” and the Young Men’s Christian Associations, are trying to get hold of the neglected strangers and help them to “find themselves” in their unfamiliar surroundings. Yet much more needs to be done, for in these cities and in the mining regions the opportunities of natural and wholesome human contact between the educated class and these new elements in the labouring class are but scanty.
That there is ground for anxiety in the presence of this vast and growing multitude of men ignorant and liable to be misled cannot be denied. One often hears the wish expressed that it had been found possible to withhold electoral power from them till they had lived long enough in the country to imbibe its spirit and be familiar with its institutions. While sharing this anxiety, I must add that it is least felt by those who know the immigrants best. The public-spirited and warmhearted men and women who work among them are not despondent. They declare that the immigrants respond quickly to any touch of personal kindness, and that not a few soon show themselves nowise inferior to other persons in the same grade of life. Great is the stimulative and educative as well as the assimilative power of the American environment.
 Upon the subject of the new immigrants the reader may be referred to Mr. J. R. Commons’ book, Races and Immigrants in America, to Professor Steiner’s books, On the Trail of the Immigrant and The Immigrant Tide, and to the reports of the Bureau of Immigration. Some interesting facts and suggestive views may also be found in Professor W. Z. Ripley’s lecture entitled “The European Population of the United States.”
 The Bureau of Immigration (Report for 1909) estimates that from 1776 to 1820 only 250,000 immigrants arrived, and from 1820 to 1909, 26,852,723.
 Regarding the methods by which immigrants are induced to come, the following passage is found in the Report for 1909 of the Commissioner General of Immigration, p. 112:
“The peasants of Southern and Eastern Europe have for a number of years supplied a rich harvest to the promoter of immigration. The promoter is usually a steamship ticket agent, employed on a commission basis, or a professional money lender, or a combination of the two. His only interest is the wholly selfish one of gaining his commission and collecting his usury. He is employed by the steamship lines large and small without scruple, and to the enormous profit of such lines. The more aliens they bring over the more are there to be carried back if failure meets the tentative immigrant, and the more are likely to follow later if success is his lot. Whatever the outcome, it is a good proposition for the steamship line.”
 Often they might have done better to stay at home. Greeks have been leaving fertile Thessaly, where a good deal of land lies untilled, to plant themselves in the slums of Chicago.
 In 1913, 19,938 aliens (about 1.7 per cent of the total number seeking admission) were turned back, nearly a half because likely to become a public charge, a little over a fifth because afflicted with a contagious disease, most of the residue because coming in under a contract to labour.
 “The competition of races is the competition of standards of living. . . . The race with lowest necessities displaces others. The textile industry of New England was originally operated by the educated sons and daughters of American stock. The Irish displaced many of them, then the French Canadians completed the displacement. Then, when the children of the French had begun to acquire a higher standard, contingents of Portuguese, Greeks, Syrians, Poles, and Italians entered to prevent a rise. . . . Branches of the clothing industry in New York began with English and Scotch tailors then were captured by Irish and Germans, then by Russian Jews, and lastly by Italians; while in Boston the Portuguese took a share, and in Chicago the Poles, Bohemians, and Scandinavians. Almost every great manufacturing and mining industry has experienced a similar substitution of races. As rapidly as a race rises in the scale of living and through organization begins to demand higher wages and resist the pressure of long hours and over-exertion, the employers substitute another race, and the process is repeated.”—Races and Immigrants in America, pp. 152, 153.
 In New York 78.6 per cent and in Chicago 77.5 per cent of the population was in 1910 of foreign extraction, and out of a population of over seventeen millions in thirty of the greatest cities, 65.5 per cent were either foreign-born or the children of foreign-born persons.
 The census figures of 1910 gave the foreign-born white population at 12,873,990 and the native white population of foreign parentage at 18,137,417 out of a total population of 91,972,266.
 Interesting instances of the influence of these returned immigrants may be found in Professor Steiner’s books above referred to.
 Some years ago building operations in Budapest came almost to a standstill owing to the departure of a large number of workers.
 Commons, Races and Immigrants, p. 170.
 Or a well-to-do householder who suffers from the difficulty of obtaining domestic service, which, while great everywhere, is greatest on the Pacific coast.
 Even surnames are often changed so as no longer to denote racial origin. I remember a case of a German named Klein, one of whose sons became Cline and another Little. Poles frequently change the spelling of their names or drop them and take new ones.
 Reference may be made to an interesting report on this subject published by the Immigration Commission (Senate Document No. 208 of 1910) in which the conclusion is drawn from a large number of measurements made of Sicilians and Jews in New York that the long skulls of the former race are growing shorter and wider in the children of the immigrants than are the skulls of their parents, while the round skulls of the Jewish children are growing longer than those of their parents, both tending to approximate to the “cephalic index” characteristic of native Americans. But a far larger body of data is needed before any conclusions can be safely formed.