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momentous consequences which the introduction of colored stocks into white
lands would entail.

The racial effects of immigration are ably summarized by that lifelong
student of immigration problems, Prescott F. Hall. These effects are, he
truly remarks, "more far-reaching and potent than all others. The
government, the state, society, industry, the political party, social and
political ideals, all are concepts and conventions created by individual
men; and when individuals change these change with them. Recent
discoveries in biology show that in the long run heredity is far more
important than environment or education; for though the latter can
develop, it cannot create. They also show what can be done in a few years
in altering species, and in producing new ones with qualities hitherto
unknown, or unknown in combination."[148]

The ways in which admixture of alien blood can modify or even destroy the
very soul of a people have been fully analyzed both by biologists and by
social psychologists like Doctor Gustave Le Bon.[149] The way in which
wholesale immigration, even though mainly white, has already profoundly
modified American national character is succinctly stated by Mr. Eliot
Norton. "If," he writes, "one considers the American people from, say,
1775 to 1860, it is clear that a well-defined national character was in
process of formation. What variations there were, were all of the same
type, and these variations would have slowly grown less and less marked.
It needs little study to see of what great value to any body of men,
women, and children a national or racial type is. It furnishes a standard
of conduct by which any one can set his course. The world is a difficult
place in which to live, and to establish moral standards has been one of
the chief occupations of mankind. Without such standards, man feels as a
mariner without a compass. Religions, rules, laws, and customs are only
the national character in the form of standards of conduct. Now national
character can be formed only in a population which is stable. The repeated
introduction into a body of men of other men of different type or types
cannot but tend to prevent its formation. Thus the 19,000,000 of
immigrants that have landed have tended to break up the type which was
forming, and to make the formation of any other type difficult. Every
million more will only intensify this result, and the absence of a
national character is a loss to every man, woman, and child. It will show
itself in our religions, rules of conduct, in our laws, in our

The vital necessity of restriction and selection in immigration to
conserve and build race-values is thus set forth by Mr. Hall:

"There is one aspect of immigration restriction in the various countries
which does not often receive much attention; namely, the possibility of
its use as a method of world-eugenics. Most persons think of migration in
terms of space - as the moving of a certain number of people from one part
of the earth's surface to another. Whereas the much more important aspect
of it is that of a functioning in time.

"This comes from two facts. The first is that the vacuum left in any
country by emigration is rapidly filled up through a rise in the
birth-rate.... The second fact is that immigration to any country of a
given stratum of population tends to sterilize all strata of higher social
and economic levels already in that country. So true is this that nearly
all students of the matter are agreed that the United States would have a
larger population to-day if there had been no immigration since 1820, and,
it is needless to add, a much more homogeneous population. As long as the
people of any community are relatively homogeneous, what differences of
wealth and social position there may be do not affect the birth-rate, or
do so only after a considerable time. But put into that community a number
of immigrants, inferior mentally, socially, and economically, and the
natives are unwilling to have their children associate with them in work
or social life. They then limit the number of their children in order to
give them the capital or education to enter occupations in which they will
not be brought into contact with the new arrivals. This result is quite
apparent in New England, where successive waves of immigration from lower
and lower levels have been coming in for eighty years. In the West, the
same New England stock has a much higher birth-rate, showing that its
fertility is in no way diminished. In the South, where until very recently
there was no immigration at all, and the only socially inferior race was
clearly separated by the accident of color, the birth-rate has remained
very high, and the very large families of the colonial period are even now
not uncommon.

"This is not to say that other causes do not contribute to lower the
birth-rate of a country, for that is an almost world-wide phenomenon. But
the desire to be separated from inferiors is as strong a motive to
birth-control as the desire for luxury or to ape one's economic superiors.
Races follow Gresham's law as to money: the poorer of two kinds in the
same place tends to supplant the better. Mark you, _supplant_, not drive
out. One of the most common fallacies is the idea that the natives whose
places are taken by the lower immigrants are 'driven up' to more
responsible positions. A few may be pushed up; more are driven to a new
locality, as happened in the mining regions; _but most are prevented from
coming into existence at all_.

"What is the result, then, of the migration of 1,000,000 persons of lower
level into a country where the average is of a higher level? Considering
the world as a whole, there are, after a few years, 2,000,000 persons of
the lower type in the world, and probably from 500,000 to 1,000,000 less
of the higher type. The proportion of lower to higher in the country from
which the migration goes may remain the same; but in the country receiving
it, it has _risen_. Is the world as a whole the gainer?

"Of course the euthenist[151] says at once that these immigrants are
improved. We may grant that, although the improvement is probably much
exaggerated. You cannot make bad stock into good by changing its meridian,
any more than you can turn a cart-horse into a hunter by putting it into a
fine stable, or make a mongrel into a fine dog by teaching it tricks. But
such improvement as there is involves time, expense, and trouble; and,
when it is done, has anything been gained? Will any one say that the races
that have supplanted the old Nordic stock in New England are any better,
or as good, as the descendants of that stock would have been if their
birth-rate had not been lowered?

"Further, in addition to the purely biological aspects of the matter,
there are certain psychological ones. Although a cosmopolitan atmosphere
furnishes a certain freedom in which strong congenital talents can
develop, it is a question whether as many are not injured as helped by
this. Indeed, there is considerable evidence to show that for the
production of great men, a certain homogeneity of environment is
necessary. The reason of this is very simple. In a homogeneous community,
opinions on a large number of matters are fixed. The individual does not
have to attend to such things, but is free to go ahead on some special
line of his own, to concentrate to his limit on his work, even though that
work be fighting the common opinions.

"But in a community of many races, there is either cross-breeding or there
is not. If there is, the children of such cross-breeding are liable to
inherit two souls, two temperaments, two sets of opinions, with the
result in many cases that they are unable to think or act strongly and
consistently in any direction. The classic examples are Cuba, Mexico, and
Brazil. On the other hand, if there is no cross-breeding, the diversity
exists in the original races, and in a community full of diverse ideals of
all kinds much of the energy of the higher type of man is dissipated in
two ways. First, in the intellectual field there is much more doubt about
everything, and he tends to weigh, discuss, and agitate many more
subjects, in order to arrive at a conclusion amid the opposing views.
Second, in practical affairs, much time and strength have to be devoted to
keeping things going along old lines, which could have been spent in new
research and development. In how many of our large cities to-day are men
of the highest type spending their whole time fighting, often in vain, to
maintain standards of honesty, decency, and order, and in trying to
compose the various ethnic elements, who should be free to build new
structures upon the old!

"The moral seems to be this: Eugenics among individuals is encouraging the
propagation of the fit, and limiting or preventing the multiplication of
the unfit. World-eugenics is doing precisely the same thing as to races
considered as wholes. Immigration restriction is a species of segregation
on a large scale, by which inferior stocks can be prevented from both
diluting and supplanting good stocks. Just as we isolate bacterial
invasions, and starve out the bacteria by limiting the area and amount of
their food-supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its
native habitat, where its own multiplication in a limited area will, as
with all organisms, eventually limit its numbers and therefore its
influence. On the other hand, the superior races, more self-limiting than
the others, with the benefits of more space and nourishment will tend to
still higher levels.

"This result is not merely a selfish benefit to the higher races, but a
good to the world as a whole. The object is to produce the greatest number
of those fittest not 'for survival' merely, but fittest for all purposes.
The lower types among men progress, so far as their racial inheritance
allows them to, chiefly by imitation and emulation. The presence of the
highest development and the highest institutions among any race is a
distinct benefit to all the others. It is a gift of _psychological
environment_ to any one capable of appreciation."[152]

The impossibility of any advanced and prosperous community maintaining its
social standards and handing them down to its posterity in these days of
cheap and rapid transportation except by restrictions upon immigrations is
thus explained by Professor Ross: "Now that cheap travel stirs the social
deeps and far-beckoning opportunity fills the steerage, immigration
becomes ever more serious to the people that hopes to rid itself at least
of slums, 'masses,' and 'submerged.' What is the good of practising
prudence in the family if hungry strangers may crowd in and occupy at the
banquet table of life the places reserved for its children? Shall it, in
order to relieve the teeming lands of their unemployed, abide in the pit
of wolfish competition and renounce the fair prospect of growth in
suavity, comfort, and refinement? If not, then the low-pressure society
must not only slam its doors upon the indraft, but must double-lock them
with forts and iron-clads, lest they be burst open by assault from some
quarter where 'cannon food' is cheap."[153]

These admirable summaries of the immigration problem in its world-aspect
are strikingly illustrated by our own country, which may be considered as
the leading, if not the "horrible," example. Probably few persons fully
appreciate what magnificent racial treasures America possessed at the
beginning of the nineteenth century. The colonial stock was perhaps the
finest that nature had evolved since the classic Greeks. It was the very
pick of the Nordics of the British Isles and adjacent regions of the
European continent - picked at a time when those countries were more Nordic
than now, since the industrial revolution had not yet begun and the
consequent resurgence of the Mediterranean and Alpine elements had not
taken place.

The immigrants of colonial times were largely exiles for conscience's
sake, while the very process of migration was so difficult and hazardous
that only persons of courage, initiative, and strong will-power would
voluntarily face the long voyage overseas to a life of struggle in an
untamed wilderness haunted by ferocious savages.

Thus the entire process of colonial settlement was one continuous, drastic
cycle of eugenic selection. Only the racially fit ordinarily came, while
the few unfit who did come were mostly weeded out by the exacting
requirements of early American life.

The eugenic results were magnificent. As Madison Grant well says: "Nature
had vouchsafed to the Americans of a century ago the greatest opportunity
in recorded history to produce in the isolation of a continent a powerful
and racially homogeneous people, and had provided for the experiment a
pure race of one of the most gifted and vigorous stocks on earth, a stock
free from the diseases, physical and moral, which have again and again
sapped the vigor of the older lands. Our grandfathers threw away this
opportunity in the blissful ignorance of national childhood and
inexperience."[154] The number of great names which America produced at
the beginning of its national life shows the high level of ability
possessed by this relatively small people (only about 3,000,000 whites in
1790). With our hundred-odd millions we have no such output of genius

The opening decades of the nineteenth century seemed to portend for
America the most glorious of futures. For nearly seventy years after the
Revolution, immigration was small, and during that long period of ethnic
isolation the colonial stock, unperturbed by alien influences, adjusted
its cultural differences and began to display the traits of a genuine new
type, harmonious in basic homogeneity and incalculably rich in racial
promise. The general level of ability continued high and the output of
talent remained extraordinarily large. Perhaps the best feature of the
nascent "native American" race was its strong idealism. Despite the
materialistic blight which was then creeping over the white world, the
native American displayed characteristics more reminiscent of his
Elizabethan forebears than of the materialistic Hanoverian Englishman. It
was a wonderful time - and it was only the dawn!

But the full day of that wondrous dawning never came. In the late forties
of the nineteenth century the first waves of the modern immigrant tide
began breaking on our shores, and the tide swelled to a veritable deluge
which never slackened till temporarily restrained by the late war. This
immigration, to be sure, first came mainly from northern Europe, was thus
largely composed of kindred stocks, and contributed many valuable
elements. Only during the last thirty years have we been deluged by the
truly alien hordes of the European east and south. But, even at its best,
the immigrant tide could not measure up to the colonial stock _which it
displaced_, not reinforced, while latterly it became a menace to the very
existence of our race, ideals, and institutions. All our slowly acquired
balance - physical, mental, and spiritual - has been upset, and we to-day
flounder in a veritable Serbonian bog, painfully trying to regain the
solid ground on which our grandsires confidently stood.

The dangerous fallacy in that short-sighted idealism which seeks to make
America the haven of refuge for the poor and oppressed of all lands, and
its evil effects not only on America but on the rest of the world as well,
has been convincingly exposed by Professor Ross. He has scant patience
with those social "uplifters" whose sympathy with the visible alien at the
gate is so keen that they have no feeling for the _invisible_ children of
_our_ poor who will find the chances gone, nor for those at the gate of
the to-be, who might have been born, but will not be.

"I am not of those," he writes, "who consider humanity and forget the
nation, who pity the living but not the unborn. To me, those who are to
come after us stretch forth beseeching hands as well as do the masses on
the other side of the globe. Nor do I regard America as something to be
spent quickly and cheerfully for the benefit of pent-up millions in the
backward lands. What if we become crowded without their ceasing to be so?
I regard it (America) as a nation whose future may be of unspeakable value
to the rest of mankind, provided that the easier conditions of life here
be made permanent by high standards of living, institutions, and ideals,
which finally may be appropriated by all men. We could have helped the
Chinese a little by letting their surplus millions swarm in upon us a
generation ago; but we have helped them infinitely more by protecting our
standards and having something worth their copying when the time

The perturbing influence of recent immigration must vex American life for
many decades. Even if laws are passed to-morrow so drastic as to shut out
permanently the influx of undesirable elements, it will yet take several
generations before the combined action of assimilation and elimination
shall have restabilized our population and evolved a new type-norm
approaching in fixity that which was on the point of crystallizing
three-quarters of a century ago.

The biologist Humphrey thus punctures the "melting-pot" delusion: "Our
'melting-pot,'" he writes, "would not give us in a thousand years what
enthusiasts expect of it - a _fusing_ of all our various racial elements
into a new type which shall be the true American. It _will_ give us for
many generations a perplexing diversity in ancestry, and since our
successors must reach back into their ancestry for characteristics, this
diversity will increase the uncertainty of their inheritances. They will
inherit no stable blended character, because there is no such thing. They
will inherit from a mixture of unlike characteristics contributed by
unlike peoples, and in their inheritance they will have certain of these
characteristics in full identity, while certain others they will not have
at all."[156]

Thus, under even the most favorable circumstances, we are in for
generations of racial readjustment - an immense travail, essentially
needless, since the final product will probably not measure up to the
colonial standard. We will probably never (unless we adopt positive
eugenic measures) be the race we might have been if America had been
reserved for the descendants of the picked Nordics of colonial times.

But that is no reason for folding our hands in despairing inaction. On the
contrary, we should be up and doing, for though some of our race-heritage
has been lost, more yet remains. We can still be a very great people - if
we will it so. Heaven be praised, the colonial stock was immensely
prolific before the alien tide wrought its sterilizing havoc. Even to-day
nearly one-half of our population is of the old blood, while many millions
of the immigrant stock are sound in quality and assimilable in kind.
Only - the immigrant tide must at all costs be stopped and America given a
chance to stabilize her ethnic being. It is the old story of the sibylline
books. Some, to be sure, are ashes of the dead past; all the more should
we conserve the precious volumes which remain.

One fact should be clearly understood: If America is not true to her own
race-soul, she will inevitably lose it, and the brightest star that has
appeared since Hellas will fall like a meteor from the human sky, its
brilliant radiance fading into the night. "We Americans," says Madison
Grant, "must realize that the altruistic ideals which have controlled our
social development during the past century and the maudlin sentimentalism
that has made America 'an asylum for the oppressed,' are sweeping the
nation toward a racial abyss. If the melting-pot is allowed to boil
without control and we continue to follow our national motto and
deliberately blind ourselves to 'all distinctions of race, creed, or
color,' the type of native American of colonial descent will become as
extinct as the Athenian of the age of Pericles and the Viking of the days
of Rollo."[157]

And let us not lay any sacrificial unction to our souls. If we cheat our
country and the world of the splendid promise of American life, we shall
have no one to blame but ourselves, and we shall deserve, not pity, but
contempt. As Professor Ross well puts it: "A people that has no more
respect for its ancestors and no more pride of race than this deserves the
extinction that surely awaits it."[158]

This extended discussion of the evil effects of even white immigration
has, in my opinion, been necessary in order to get a proper perspective
for viewing the problem of colored immigration. For it is perfectly
obvious that if the influx of inferior kindred stocks is bad, the influx
of wholly alien stocks is infinitely worse. When we see the damage wrought
in America, for example, by the coming of persons who, after all, belong
mostly to branches of the white race and who nearly all possess the basic
ideals of white civilization, we can grasp the incalculably greater damage
which would be wrought by the coming of persons wholly alien in blood and
possessed of idealistic and cultural backgrounds absolutely different from
ours. If the white immigrant can gravely disorder the national life, it is
not too much to say that the colored immigrant would doom it to certain

This doom would be all the more certain because of the enormous potential
volume of colored immigration. Beside it, the white immigrant tide of the
past century would pale into insignificance. Leaving all other parts of
the colored world out of the present discussion, three Asiatic
countries - China, Japan, and India - together have a population of nearly
800,000,000. That is practically twice the population of Europe - the
source of white immigration. And the vast majority of these 800,000,000
Asiatics are potential immigrants into white territories. Their standards
of living are so inconceivably low, their congestion is so painful, and
their consequent desire for relief so keen that the high-standard,
relatively empty white world seems to them a perfect paradise. Only the
barrier of the white man's veto has prevented a perfect deluge of colored
men into white lands, and even as it is the desperate seekers after fuller
life have crept and crawled through every crevice in that barrier, until
even these advance-guards to-day constitute serious local problems along
the white world's race-frontiers.

The simple truth of the matter is this: A mighty problem - a planet-wide
problem - confronts us to-day and will increasingly confront us in the days
to come. Says Putnam Weale: "A struggle has begun between the white man
and all the other men of the world to decide whether non-white men - that
is, yellow men, or brown men, or black men - may or may not invade the
white man's countries in order there to gain their livelihood. The
standard of living being low in the lands of colored men and high in the
lands of the white man, it has naturally followed that it has been in the
highest degree attractive for men of color during the past few decades to
proceed to regions where their labor is rewarded on a scale far above
their actual requirements - that is, on the white man's scale. This simple
economic truth creates the inevitable contest which has for years filled
all the countries bordering on the Pacific with great dread; and which, in
spite of the temporary truce which the so-called 'Exclusion Policy' has
now enforced, will go much farther than it has yet gone."[159]

The world-wide significance of colored immigration and the momentous
conflicts which it will probably provoke are ably visualized by Professor

"The rush of developments," he writes, "makes it certain that the vision
of a globe 'lapped in universal law' is premature. If the seers of the
mid-century who looked for the speedy triumph of free trade had read their
Malthus aright, they might have anticipated the tariff barriers that have
arisen on all hands within the last thirty years. So, to-day one needs no
prophet's mantle to foresee that presently the world will be cut up with
immigration barriers which will never be levelled until the intelligent
accommodation of numbers to resources has greatly equalized
population-pressure all over the globe.... Dams against the color races,
with spillways of course for students, merchants, and travellers, will
presently enclose the white man's world. Within this area minor dams will
protect the high wages of the less prolific peoples against the surplus
labor of the more prolific.

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Online LibraryLothrop StoddardThe Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy → online text (page 17 of 22)