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to respond to this ideal in its more developed form. Those who escape from oppression are likely to distrust any form of government that is not manipulated by themselves. This was, in reality, the case with the Irish. With no experience in governing, but much in being oppressed, they had an unquenchable desire to be in control. They speedily rose to administrative positions of minor importance in industry, and then extended their operations to municipal politics. Doctor Talcott Williams suggests : that these people left Ireland when it was in the tribal stage of development, and proceeded along the lines of tribal organization here. However this may be, it would appear that an unparallel degree of political corruption came to the United States through Irish immigration. Those of an optimistic turn of mind think such a thing could not happen again because of a more developed national consciousness in the twentieth century. This is open to question. It might be difficult at the present time for an entirely new group of corruptionists to obtain control of political machines. The ethical standards of the New Immigrants are frequently at variance with our own, and these people are dominantly Catholic in religion, while the Old, except the Irish, were almost wholly Protestant. The country has become a crucible for the testing of racial metals. It would be extremely interesting to view the result in another hundred years. Owing to the barriers of color and so-called Heathenism, the Oriental races have made practically no impression on the moral life of the country. No such obstacles prevent the insidious seeping in of the lower standards of the poorest types of European immigrants. But blast furnaces, oil tanks, spinning machines and textile looms know nothing of national standards; they are concerned only with hands.
: “ The Political Education of the Immigrant.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Jan., 1921,
EFFECT OF IMMIGRANTS ON INDUSTRIAL
PROGRESS AND WAGES The work of the aliens under discussion includes practically all the four hundred or more occupations in the United States for they are found everywhere, but they predominate where there is a demand for unskilled labor, either with the hands or in standardized machine processes. It is noticeable that where there is a plentiful supply of such labor, invention lags behind. Inventive genius is stimulated by a scarcity of labor and a brisk demand for goods. The introduction of new labor-saving machinery implies the investment of much capital, and this is not usually lightly undertaken, certainly not while human hands are reaching out for work. Yet unquestionably the country's natural resources can be best developed by the use of labor-saving machinery. But human beings are cheaper; there is always a new crop when the immigration gates are wide open. An abundant supply of foreign workers also means lower wages, a fact bitterly resented by organized labor, which, on this account, has steadfastly set its face against unrestricted immigration. The fact that organized labor is largely composed of one time foreigners does not shake its confidence in the integrity of its own position. The evolution of a decent standard of living has been a long and slow process for the laborer, and the trade unionist does not intend to relinquish it now that it is at least partially within his reach. Without doubt any country is best off when it has a satisfied body of well paid workers. But this condition cannot exist with a constant inpouring of unskilled foreigners. The other side of the argument is that one man has as good a right as another to seek economic advancement in whatever part of the world it offers itself. But if it appears that incoming seekers after a better life are injuring those already in the country, the right procedure of the country in question seem plain. Industrial development and labor interests will always be at variance on this point so long as immediate financial gain is the commercial goal. A swarming population at a bare subsistence level is seemingly advantageous to capitalists, but when the toll of ignorance, vice and crime has been taken, the gain to the nation shrivels.
OLD WORLD HABITS AND NEW WORLD WAGES
There can be no more depressing sight to a socially minded person than a mass of illiterate foreigners pouring out of a great factory at night fall, bewildered by everything about them, and moving dejectedly to miserable tenements to work more or sleep till the whistles summon them to the machines again. They do not participate at all in the life about them; their only interest is in the pay envelope, which is inadequate so far as supporting American standards is concerned. The wage seems large, however, to the newcomer whose life in the Old World was mere subsistence. On the New World wage, he can save and send for his family. The immigrant does save a great deal during the first months or years, since his expenditures are then based on his old habits. Those who have been accustomed to receiving forty cents a day in Europe and suddenly find themselves in possession of a dollar or two, have a surplus without any corresponding knowledge of ways to spend it,—therefore, the only thing to do at this stage is to save it. In this way every year sees many thousands of dollars sent out of the United States to be deposited in banks in European countries. Those who keep their surplus earnings here frequently lose them by putting them into the hands of their own countrymen, who, as custodians of funds are dishonest at worst, incompetent at best. The so-called Immigrant Bank has grown up out of this situation. The banker may be a grocer or other small tradesman who takes the money of the new arrival to keep for him without any business formalities, often not even a receipt. Naturally confusion arises. The foreigner usually distrusts the American banking system because he does not understand it; even a rogue speaking his own tongue seems more satisfactory. But the amount of savings lost to the ignorant on this account is appalling. The
shopkeeper puts his friends' money with the receipts of his business without discrimination as a rule; it is seldom that he opens a second account with a bank to care for these. With the best intentions in the world on the part of the operator, such an irresponsible system would eventually break down. Hiding money in sugar bowls is quite as good a method. Nothing is a greater setback to thrift than the unexpected loss of savings. To the ignorant it only proves the futility of saving.
After the immigrant is in this country a few years, he does not save so much as he did at first because he spends a much larger proportion of his wages for family comforts. He has better food and clothes for himself and his children and he live in a better house if he is able to get one. That is, his standard of living is rising, and, after a time, he learns that every one who comes in and underbids him at work is a menace to that standard. He is then likely to line up with the immigration restrictionists. Something to be noted here is the fact that living standards are rarely lowered; the tendency is for them to go up. Anyone can see that they went much higher in this country in the war period when there was no immigration and wages were phenomenally high. Although there followed a period of unemployment, they have not materially lowered. Fur coats and victrolas are still among the necessities in wage earner's families. Articles formerly considered luxuries are now within reach of working people by means of instalment plan payments. The immigrant who came to this country poor and half-clad has in many cases entered into the enjoyment of more extravagant living. That is usually his first step toward Americanism.
GROUPS TO BE CONSIDERED
So many and so varied are the ways in which European immigrants, even new arrivals, touch life in the United States that it may be of interest to note briefly some of the outstanding characteristics and adaptations of the larger groups forming the New Immigration. It is not necessary to dwell upon the nationalities comprising the Old Immigration, since they are well known to all. But with the Italians, the Greeks, the Slavs, there is less contact.
Practically all of the Italian immigration in the present century and three-fourths of all that has come, has been from Southern Italy, including Sicily. The North Italians who emigrated to the United States earlier were engaged almost wholly in agricultural labor. Land ownership at home even on a small scale was extremely difficult, and a livelihood at all times precarious, yet the hardships were surmountable and developed a physical and moral vigor in those who overcame them. In the south the situation was different. There the land was so poor, and the tenancy regulations so hard that the peasants sought employment for themselves and their children in sulphur mines and elsewhere under the most degrading conditions. Reports of the high wages in America naturally attracted people such as these who were unable to make more than the barest living at home. Their early experiences had not tended to develop the most robust qualities of mind and body. There was virtual slavery in existence, since many actually sold their young children into servitude for a term of years, but were never able to redeem them. Such an economic experience was poor preparation for functioning in a political democracy; it was poor preparation for participation in our industrial system. Where one's only contact with government is through oppressive agents, law ceases to evoke respect, while individuals tend to
avenge their own wrongs.
This the South Italian does even in this country, and is consequently held in disrepute by the lawabiding everywhere.
In the United States, the Italian is found in rough work of all kinds as railway construction, subway and sewer digging, and in steel processes, as well as in miscellaneous occu