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in 1910 over two hundred thousand in the United States. They are a
Tatar race, with a copious sprinkling of Swedish blood. Illiteracy is
rare among them. They are eager patrons of night schools and libraries
and have a flourishing college near Duluth. They are eager for
citizenship and are independent in politics. The glittering
generalities of Marxian socialism seem peculiarly alluring to them;
and not a few have joined the I.W.W. Drink has been their curse, but a
strong temperance movement has recently made rapid headway among them.
They are natural woodmen and wield the axe with the skill of our own
frontiersmen. Their peculiar houses, made of neatly squared logs, are
features of every Finnish settlement. All of the North European races
and a few from Southern and Eastern Europe have contributed to the
American rural population; yet the Census of 1910 disclosed the fact
that of the 6,361,502 white farm operators in the United States, 75
per cent were native American and only 10.5 per cent were foreign
born.


FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 29: Oberholtzer, _History of the United States since the
Civil War_, vol I, p. 275.]

[Footnote 30: Oberholtzer, _supra cit._, p. 278.]

[Footnote 31: The census of 1910 discloses the fact that of the
6,361,502 farms in the United States 75 per cent were operated by
native white Americans and only 10.5 per cent by foreign born whites.
The foreign born were distributed as follows: Austria, 33,336;
Hungary, 3827; England, 39,728; Ireland, 33,480; Scotland, 10,220;
Wales, 4110; France, 5832; Germany, 221,800; Holland, 13,790; Italy,
10,614; Russia, 25,788; Poland, 7228; Denmark, 28,375; Norway, 59,742;
Sweden, 67,453; Switzerland, 14333; Canada, 61,878.]

[Footnote 32: _History of the People of the United States_, vol. VII,
p. 203.]

[Footnote 33: K.C. Babcock, _The Scandinavian Element in the United
States_, p. 143.]




CHAPTER VIII

THE CITY BUILDERS


"What will happen to immigration when the public domain has vanished?"
was a question frequently asked by thoughtful American citizens. The
question has been answered: the immigrant has become a job seeker in
the city instead of a home seeker in the open country. The last three
decades have witnessed "the portentous growth of the cities" - and they
are cities of a new type, cities of gigantic factories, towering
skyscrapers, electric trolleys, telephones, automobiles, and motor
trucks, and of fetid tenements swarming with immigrants. The
immigrants, too, are of a new type. When Henry James revisited Boston
after a long absence, he was shocked at the "gross little foreigners"
who infested its streets, and he said it seemed as if the fine old
city had been wiped with "a sponge saturated with the foreign mixture
and passed over almost everything I remembered and might have still
recovered."[34]

Until 1882 the bulk of immigration, as we have seen, came from the
north of Europe, and these immigrants were kinsmen to the American and
for the most part sought the country. The new immigration, however,
which chiefly sought the cities, hailed from southern and eastern
Europe. It has shown itself alien in language, custom, in ethnic
affinities and political concepts, in personal standards and
assimilative ambitions. These immigrants arrived usually in masculine
hordes, leaving women and children behind, clinging to their own kind
with an apprehensive mistrust of all things American, and filled with
the desire to extract from this fabulous mine as much gold as possible
and then to return to their native villages. Yet a very large number
of those who have gone home to Europe have returned to America with
bride or family. As a result the larger cities of the United States
are congeries of foreign quarters, whose alarming fecundity fills the
streets with progeny and whose polyglot chatter on pay night turns
even many a demure New England town into a veritable babel.

There are in the United States today roughly eight or ten millions of
these new immigrants. A line drawn southward from Minneapolis to St.
Louis and thence eastward to Washington would embrace over four-fifths
of them, for most of the great American cities lie in this
northeastern corner of the land. Whence come these millions? From the
vast and mysterious lands of the Slavs, from Italy, from Greece, and
from the Levant.

The term Slav covers a welter of nationalities whose common ethnic
heritage has long been concealed under religious, geographical, and
political diversities and feuds. They may be divided into North Slavs,
including Bohemians, Poles, Ruthenians, Slovaks, and "Russians," and
South Slavs, including Bulgarians, Serbians and Montenegrins,
Croatians, Slovenians, and Dalmatians. As one writer on these races
says, "It is often impossible in America to distinguish these national
groups.... Yet the differences are there.... In American communities
they have their different churches societies, newspapers, and a
separate social life.... The Pole wastes no love on the Russian, nor
the Ruthenian on the Pole, and a person who acts in ignorance of these
facts, a missionary for instance, or a political boss, or a trade
union organizer, may find himself in the position of a host who
should innocently invite a Fenian from Cork County to hobnob with an
Ulster Orangeman on the ground that both were Irish."[35]

The Bohemians (including the Moravians) are the most venturesome and
the most enlightened of the great Slav family. Many of them came to
America in the seventeenth century as religious pilgrims; more came as
political refugees after 1848; and since 1870, they have come in
larger numbers, seeking better economic conditions. All told, they
numbered over 220,000, from which it may be estimated that there are
probably today half a million persons of Bohemian parentage in the
United States. Chicago alone shelters over 100,000 of these people,
and Cleveland 45,000. These immigrants as a rule own the neat,
box-like houses in which they live, where flower-pots and tiny gardens
bespeak a love of growing things, and lace curtains, carpets, and
center tables testify to the influence of an American environment. The
Bohemians are much given to clubs, lodges, and societies, which
usually have rooms over Bohemian saloons. The second generation is
prone to free thinking and has a weakness for radical socialism.

The Bohemians are assiduous readers, and illiteracy is almost unknown
among them. They support many periodicals and several thriving
publishing houses. They cling to their language with a religious
fervor. Their literature and the history which it preserves is their
pride. Yet this love of their own traditions is no barrier,
apparently, to forming strong attachments to American institutions.
The Bohemians are active in politics, and in the cities where they
congregate they see that they have their share of the public offices.
There are more highly skilled workmen among them than are to be found
in any other Slavic group; and the second generation of Bohemians in
America has produced many brilliant professional men and successful
business men. As one writer puts it: "The miracle which America works
upon the Bohemians is more remarkable than any other of our national
achievements. The downcast look so characteristic of them in Prague is
nearly gone, the surliness and unfriendliness disappear, and the young
Bohemian of the second or third generation is as frank and open as his
neighbor with his Anglo-Saxon heritage."[36]

The bitter, political and racial suppression that made the Bohemian
surly and defiant seem, on the other hand, to have left the Polish
peasant stolid, patient, and very illiterate. Polish settlements were
made in Texas and Wisconsin in the fifties and before 1880 a large
number of Poles were scattered through New York, Pennsylvania, and
Illinois. Since then great numbers have come over in the new
migrations until today, it is estimated, at least three million
persons of Polish parentage live in the United States.[37] The men in
the earlier migrations frequently settled on the land; the recent
comers hasten to the mines and the metal working centers, where their
strong though untrained hands are in constant demand.

The majority of the Poles have come to America to stay. They remain,
however, very clannish and according to the Federal Industrial
Commission, without the "desire to fuse socially." The recent Polish
immigrant is very circumscribed in his mental horizon, clings
tenaciously to his language, which he hears exclusively in his home
and his church, his lodge, and his saloon, and is unresponsive to his
American environment. Not until the second and third generation is
reached does the spirit of American democracy make headway against his
lethal stolidity. Now that Poland has been made free as a result of
the Great War, it may be that the Pole's inherited indifference will
give way to national aspirations and that, in the resurrection of his
historic hope of freedom, he will find an animating stimulant.

The Pole, however, is more independent and progressive than the
Slovak, his brother from the northeastern corner of Hungary. For many
generations this segment of the Slav race has been pitifully crushed.
Turks, Magyars, and Huns have taken delight in oppressing him. An
early, sporadic migration of Slovaks to America received a sudden
impulse in 1882. About 200,000 have come since then, and perhaps twice
that number of persons of Slovak blood now dwell in the mining and
industrial centers of the United States. Many of them, however, return
to their native villages. They keep aloof from things American and
only too often prefer to live in squalor and ignorance. Their social
life is centered in the church, the saloon, and the lodge. It is
asserted that their numerous organizations have a membership of over
100,000, and that there were almost as many Slovak newspapers in
America as in Hungary.[38]

Little Russia, the seat of turmoil, is the home of the Ruthenians, or
Ukranians. They are also found in southeastern Galicia, northern
Hungary, and in the province of Bukowina. They have migrated from all
these provinces and about 350,000, it is estimated, now reside in the
United States. They, too, are birds of passage, working in the mines
and steel mills for the coveted wages that shall free them from debt
at home and insure their independence. Such respite as they take from
their labors is spent in the saloon, in the club rooms over the
saloon, or in church, where they hear no English speech and learn
nothing of American ways.

It is impossible to estimate the total number of Russian Slavs in the
United States, as the census figures until recently included as
"Russian" all nationalities that came from Russia. They form the
smallest of the Slavic groups that have migrated to America. From 1898
to 1909 only 66,282 arrived, about half of whom settled in
Pennsylvania and New York. It is surprising to note, however, that
every State in the Union except Utah and every island possession
except the Philippines has received a few of these immigrants. The
Director of Emigration at St. Petersburg in 1907 characterized these
people as "hardy and industrious," and "though illiterate they are
intelligent and unbigoted."[39]

So much in brief for the North Slavs. Of the South Slavs, the
Bulgarians possess racial characteristics which point to an
intermixture in the remote past with some Asiatic strain, perhaps a
Magyar blend. Very few Bulgarian immigrants, who come largely from
Macedonia, arrived before the revolution of 1904, when many villages
in Monastir were destroyed. For some years they made Granite City,
near St. Louis, the center of their activities but, like the Serbians,
they are now well scattered throughout the country. In Seattle, Butte,
Chicago, and Indianapolis they form considerable colonies. Many of
them return yearly to their native hills, and it is too early to
determine how fully they desire to adapt themselves to American ways.

Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria, countries that have been thrust
forcibly into the world's vision by the Great War, have sent several
hundred thousand of their hardy peasantry to the United States. The
Montenegrins and Serbians, who comprise three-fourths of this
migration, are virtually one in speech and descent. They are to be
found in New England towns and in nearly every State from New York to
Alaska, where they work in the mills and mines and in construction
gangs. The response which these people make to educational
opportunities shows their high cultural possibilities.

The Croatians and Dalmatians, who constitute the larger part of the
southern Slav immigration, are a sturdy, vigorous people, and splendid
specimens of physical manhood. The Dalmatians are a seafaring folk
from the Adriatic coast, whose sailors may be found in every port of
the world. The Dalmatians have possessed themselves of the oyster
fisheries near New Orleans and are to be found in Mississippi making
staves and in California making wine. In many cities they manage
restaurants. The exceptional shrewdness of the Dalmatians is in bold
contrast to their illiteracy. They get on amazingly in spite of their
lack of education. Once they have determined to remain in this
country, they take to American ways more readily than do the other
southern Slavs.

Croatia, too, has its men of the sea, but in America most of the
immigrants of this race are to be found in the mines and coke furnaces
of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In New York City there are some
15,000 Croatian mechanics and longshoremen. The silver and copper
mines of Montana also employ a large number of these people. It is
estimated that fully one-half of the Croatians return to their native
hills and that they contribute yearly many millions to the home-folks.

From the little province of Carniola come the Slovenians, usually
known as "Griners" (from the German _Krainer_, the people of the
Krain), a fragment of the Slavic race that has become much more
assimilated with the Germans who govern them than any other of their
kind. Their national costume has all but vanished and with it the
virile traditions of their forefathers. They began coming to America
in the sixties, and in the seventies they founded an important colony
at Joliet, Illinois. Since 1892 their numbers have increased rapidly,
until today about 100,000 live in the United States. Over one-half of
these immigrants are to be found in the steel and mining towns of
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, where the large majority of them are
unskilled workmen. Among the second generation, however, are to be
found a number of successful merchants.

All these numerous peoples have inherited in common the impassive,
patient temperament and the unhappy political fate of the Slav. Their
countries are mere eddies left by the mighty currents of European
conquest and reconquest, backward lands untouched by machine industry
and avoided by capital, whose only living links with the moving world
are the birds of passage, the immigrants who flit between the mines
and cities of America and these isolated European villages. Held
together by national costume, song, dance, festival, traditions, and
language, these people live in the pale glory of a heroic past. Most
of those who come to America are peasants who have been crushed by
land feudalism, kept in ignorance by political intolerance, and bound
in superstition by a reactionary ecclesiasticism. The brutality with
which they treat their women, their disregard for sanitary measures,
and their love for strong drink are evidences of the survival of
medievalism in the midst of modern life, as are their notions of
class prerogative and their concept of the State. Buffeted by the
world, their language suppressed, their nationalism reviled, poor,
ignorant, unskilled, these children of the open country come to the
ugliest spots of America, the slums of the cities, and the choking
atmosphere of the mines. Here, crowded in their colonies, jealously
shepherded by their church, neglected by the community, they remain
for an entire generation immune to American influences. According to
estimates given by Emily G. Balch,[40] between four and six million
persons of Slavic descent are now dwelling among us, and their
fecundity is amazing. Equally amazing is the indifference of the
Government and of Americans generally to the menace involved in the
increasing numbers of these inveterate aliens to institutions that are
fundamentally American.

The Lithuanians and Magyars are often classed with the Slavs. They
hotly resent this inclusion, however, for they are distinct racial
strains of ancient lineage. An adverse fate has left the Lithuanian
little of his old civilization except his language. Political and
economic suppression has made sad havoc of what was once a proud and
prosperous people. Most of them are now crowded into the Baltic
province that bears their name, and they are reduced to the mental and
economic level of the Russian moujik. In 1868 a famine drove the first
of these immigrants to America, where they were soon absorbed by the
anthracite mines of Pennsylvania. They were joined in the seventies by
numbers of army deserters. The hard times of the nineties caused a
rush of young men to the western El Dorado. Since then the influx has
steadily continued until now over 200,000 are in America. They
persistently avoid agriculture and seek the coal mine and the factory.
The one craft in which they excel is tailoring, and they proudly boast
of being the best dressed among all the Eastern-European immigrants.
The one mercantile ambition which they have nourished is to keep a
saloon. Drinking is their national vice; and they measure the social
success of every wedding, christening, picnic, and jollification by
its salvage of empty beer kegs.

Over 338,000 Magyars immigrated to the United States during the decade
ending 1910. These brilliant and masterful folk are a Mongoloid blend
that swept from the steppes of Asia across eastern Europe a thousand
years ago. As the wave receded, the Magyars remained dominant in
beautiful and fertile Hungary, where their aggressive nationalism
still brings them into constant rivalry on the one hand with the
Germans of Austria and on the other with the Slavs of Hungary. The
immigrants to America are largely recruited from the peasantry. They
almost invariably seek the cities, where the Magyar neighborhoods can
be easily distinguished by their scrupulously neat housekeeping, the
flower beds, the little patches of well-swept grass, the clean
children, and the robust and tidy women. Among them is less illiteracy
than in any other group from eastern and southern Europe, excepting
the Finns, who are their ethnic brothers. As a rule they own their own
homes. They learn the English language quickly but unfortunately
acquire with it many American vices. Drinking and carousing are
responsible for their many crimes of personal violence. They are
otherwise a sociable, happy people, and the cafes kept by Hungarians
are islands of social jollity in the desert of urban strife.

In bold contrast to these ardent devotees of nationalism, the Jew, the
man of no country and of all countries, is an American immigrant still
to be considered. By force of circumstance he became a city dweller;
he came from the European city; he remained in the American city; and
all attempts to colonize Jews on the land have failed. The doors of
this country have always been open to him. At the time of the
Revolution several thousand Jews dwelt in American towns. By 1850 the
number had increased to 50,000 and by the time of the Civil War to
150,000. The persecutions of Czar Alexander III in the eighties
swelled the number to over 400,000, and the political reactions of the
nineties added over one million. Today at least one fifth of the ten
million Jews in the world live in American cities.

The first to seek a new Zion in this land were the Spanish-Portuguese
Jews, who came as early as 1655. They remain a select aristocracy
among their race, clinging to certain ritualistic characteristics and
retaining much of the pride which their long contact with the Spaniard
has engendered. They are found almost exclusively in the eastern
cities, as successful bankers, merchants, and professional men. There
next came on the wave of the great German immigration the German Jews.
They are to be found in every city, large and small, engaged in
mercantile pursuits, especially in the drygoods and the clothing
business. Nearly all of the prominent Jews in America have come from
this stock - the great bankers, financiers, lawyers, merchants, rabbis,
scholars, and public men. It was, indeed, from their broad-minded
scholars that there originated the widespread liberal Judaism which
has become a potent ethical force in our great cities.

The Austrian and Hungarian Jews followed. The Jews had always received
liberal treatment in Hungary, and their mingling with the social
Magyars had produced the type of the coffeehouse Jew, who loved to
reproduce in American cities the conviviality of Vienna and Budapest
but who did not take as readily to American ways as the German Jew.
Most of the Jews from Hungary remained in New York, although Chicago
and St. Louis received a few of them. In commercial life they are
traders, pawnbrokers, and peddlers, and control the artificial-flower
and passementerie trade.

By far the largest group are the latest comers, the Russian Jews.
"Ultra orthodox," says Edward A. Steiner, "yet ultra radical; chained
to the past, and yet utterly severed from it; with religion permeating
every act of life, or going to the other extreme and having 'none of
it'; traders by instinct, and yet among the hardest manual laborers
of our great cities. A complex mass in which great things are yearning
to express themselves, a brooding mass which does not know itself and
does not lightly disclose itself to the outside."[41] Nearly a million
of these people are crowded into the New York ghettos. Large numbers
of them engage in the garment industries and the manufacture of
tobacco. They graduate also into junk-dealers, pawnbrokers, and
peddlers, and are soon on their way "up town." Among them socialism
thrives, and the second generation displays an unseemly haste to break
with the faith of its fathers.

The Jews are the intellectuals of the new immigration. They invest
their political ideas with vague generalizations of human
amelioration. They cannot forget that Karl Marx was a Jew: and one
wonders how many Trotzkys and Lenines are being bred in the stagnant
air of their reeking ghettos. It remains to be seen whether they will
be willing to devote their undoubted mental capacities to other than
revolutionary vagaries or to gainful pursuits, for they have a
tendency to commercialize everything they touch. They have shown no
reluctance to enter politics; they learn English with amazing
rapidity, throng the public schools and colleges, and push with
characteristic zeal and persistence into every open door of this
liberal land.

From Italy there have come to America well over three million
immigrants. For two decades before 1870 they filtered in at the
average rate of about one thousand a year; then the current increased
to several thousand a year; and after 1880 it rose to a flood.[42]
Over two-thirds of these Italians live in the larger cities;
one-fourth of them are crowded into New York tenements.[43] Following
in order, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, Cleveland, St.
Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, Portland, and Omaha have their Italian
quarters, all characterized by overcrowded boarding houses and
tenements, vast hordes of children, here and there an Italian bakery
and grocery, on every corner a saloon, and usually a private bank with
a steamship agency and the office of the local _padrone_. Scores of
the lesser cities also have their Italian contingent, usually in the
poorest and most neglected part of the town, where gaudily painted
door jambs and window frames and wonderfully prosperous gardens
proclaim the immigrant from sunny Italy. Not infrequently an old
warehouse, store, or church is transformed into an ungainly and
evil-odored barracks, housing scores of men who do their own washing
and cooking. Those who do not dwell in the cities are at work in
construction camps - for the Italian has succeeded the Irishman as the
knight of the pick and shovel. The great bulk of these swarthy,
singing, hopeful young fellows are peasants, unskilled of hand but
willing of heart. Nearly every other one is unable to read or write.


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