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Immigrants returning home and telling of wonderful opportunities to be had and then giving financial assistance in order for them to emigrate. Italians

5 Greeks

4 Bulgarians

1 Poles


4. Activity of steamship companies.



Literacy of Cases Reported

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Italians ... Hungarians. Greeks Russians Bulgarians. Servians. Poles... Roumanians Turks ..

29 21 16 6 2 2 1 1

50 25 19 12 5 2 2 1

13.0 13.0 92.6 13.8

10.4 86.2 9.5 9.5 90.5 31.2 25.0 75.0


100.0 50.0 50.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0


1 0

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The degree of illiteracy discovered in this short study bears out the statement already made that our more recent immigration has brought to us a great burden of ignorance with which the country must contend. The urgency of the need for combating it leads us from further consideration of the first two questions propounded, that is, “Who are our immigrants ?” and, “Whence have they come ?” to the last two, “What have they brought to us?” and “What have we given to them?"

It is not my purpose to deal elaborately with these inquiries, but rather to suggest briefly several lines of thought based on known facts in regard to them. This discussion may appropriately enough be left for another chapter.




IT IS so customary for people already settled in a place to assume an air of superiority, if not actual hostility, toward newcomers that it should occasion no surprise to learn that nations usually feel the same way about strangers who come in large numbers. Certainly conquering hosts are not given the right hand of fellowship except under duress. And even where questions of war and politics do not enter, the situation is about the same.

It does not take the average American very long to decide that our foreign people have brought us nothing but the labor of their hands, which has often been a doubtful blessing. Terms of opprobrium like “ dago,"

dago," "sheeny," greaser, and “hunkie” are indicative of the feeling of the nativeborn toward Italian, Jew, Mexican and Slav. Where commercial development is of prime importance, very naturally those lowest down in the economic scale will as men receive scant consideration. They are only cogs in the machinery to be thrown away when worn out. But the matter is not so easily settled. Old iron goes into the scrap heap from which it will emerge in new forms of usefulness, while men no longer economically profitable and employable only add to existing pathological social conditions. Before the World War, very little thought was given in this country to the foreigners living here except by the few people who were studying the situation at first hand.

IMMIGRANTS AND CHILD LABOR In thinking of conditions due to immigration one's mind naturally turns to some of the more conspicuous social ills made possible or perpetrated by the presence of hordes of ignorant foreign people. There is great divergence between the standard of living of the native- and foreign-born. Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe have come here unacquainted with the major comforts of life, and many have never learned to observe even the minor decencies. They are satisfied at first with food and shelter repellant to the native worker, because the worst that they get here is usually superior to that which they had at home. Very naturally this reacts unfavorably on wages. The immigrant regards the labor of women and children with complacency. Otherwise, why should he be burdened with them? This attitude has thrust upon the American public one of its most serious problems, that of child labor. Seventy-six per cent. of the cases of laboring children recently studied by the National Child Labor Committee had foreign-born parents. These children were exploited by parents whose Old World training and experience had accustomed them to the idea of child labor. It is not easy to root out ideas financially advantageous to those holding them. Children of foreigners are laboring today in cotton mills and coal breakers, in beet fields and truck gardens, and in various street trades, and are thereby being physically and mentally dwarfed. This is poor national economy.

The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to make possible the enactment of a Federal Child Labor Law, is now before the states for ratification. It has been discovered that only in this way can children be protected in backward states. Seven states still allow night work, four, a day of ten or more hours, and in one state children over fifteen may work all night. The American working man's standard calls for a mother at home and children at school, at least until they get the rudiments of an education. The attitude of the foreigner makes this more difficult of attainment.

1 January, 1925.

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