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menace. Many of the immigrants have brought from the Old World a love of the arts that is surprising to uncultivated native Americans. This love could be used as an antidote to the bleakness of modern industry. The common language of music could be made a vehicle of communication. Common enjoyment is a unifying force not to be overlooked, and to which there is a hearty response. Humble people who have come from nations with an illustrious past often have a pride in the glory behind them even though they themselves have made no contribution to national achievement, and they bitterly resent disparaging reference to the land of their birth. It is a well known fact that the retention of old loyalties neither weakens nor renders impossible new national attachments. Indeed the mental habit of loyalty whether old or newly acquired is an essential to good citizenship. Doctor Carol Aronivici 12 mentions the following as wise guiding principles in the work of Americanization:
1. Fair treatment in regard to American institutions. 2. Recognition of racial and national values.
3. Recognition of national rights of the home country. Or, stated in other terms, “Protection, understanding, participation, acceptance of racial and national values are fundamental.”
It takes time to learn a language and to absorb the ideas of a new land. There is a period of bewilderment even under the most fortunate conditions, and encouragement is needed. Sympathetic understanding and tolerance should form the basis of all work designed to bring about better assimilation of the immigrants. The immigrant has come to us bringing all that he has; the native-born should reciprocate by placing within his reach all that the country has to offer in the way of a better life.
09“ Americanization ” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Nov., 1921, 137-8.
LEGISLATION THROUGH the earlier period of our national life, we look in vain for general legislative regulation of immigration; Congress was occupied with more pressing problems than the migration of aliens. In-coming foreigners, who, in the first few decades, rarely numbered more than ten thousand a year, caused no special anxiety. In fact immigrants were greatly desired since native industries were developing, and an abundance of unoccupied land awaited cultivation. There was always, however, a lurking fear that through the activities of European countries, undesirable settlers might be sent to America. This fear was born of colonial experience. England had systematically used the colonies as a dumping ground for such persons as she wished to be rid of. This was doubtless done in the hope, frequently justified, that they would respond to the chance of a better life offered them in the New World. But the policy of emptying the jails and almshouses into the colonies was met with stolid opposition by the colonists. The new nation viewed with apprehension the possibility of a criminal or feeble-minded strain in the immigration stream. With this exception strangers were usually welcomed.
THE FIRST ALIEN BILL
During the period of the French Revolution, a fear of foreign influence was felt in the United States. Our government was then so new that thoughtful men distrusted its power to battle successfully with foreign propagandists who might wish to influence the trend of politics here. In an effort to forestall such a difficulty, the Alien Bill was passed in 1798. This law empowered the President to deport any aliens whose influence he might consider detrimental to the country. This was in reality a war measure, as there was the remote possibility of war with France, and its operation was limited to two years. It served the purpose of establishing the right of deportation, a right never relinquished by the United States since only by its exercise can national integrity be maintained.
Aside from the Alien Bill, the earliest laws enacted in regard to foreigners were the Naturalization Bills. The law of 1790 provided that citizenship could be acquired after a residence in the country of two years, but in 1795 this period was lengthened to five years. The same agitation that led to the passage of the Alien Bill, led in 1798 to the extension of the residential period to fourteen years. After four years, however, this law was repealed and the five year term re-established.
For some years after the birth of the American nation, outside accessions of population were almost entirely from Great Britian and Germany, and these people quickly became an integral part of the new country. The traditions of the American nation were Anglo-Saxon, and representatives of this race immediately felt at home. There was little or no clashing of moral standards or customs; and those who came were in the main agriculturists. Certain changes were noticeable, however, after the war of 1812. Owing to war restrictions, it became necessary for this country to assume new business enterprises, With a further development of manufacturing industries came an increased demand for labor which the country itself could not supply. While land was free or cheap, the natives were unwilling to forego the independence that goes with being even small farmers for the seemingly inferior position of factory wage-earners. European workers, on account of a strongly intrenched upper class, could make no such choice and eagerly responded to the call of American industry.
LAW OF 1819
The first legislation in regard to immigration, other than the two bills cited above, came after the stimulation of manufacture just noted, and had to do mainly with accommodations on the ocean voyage. This was the law of March 2, 1819. The provisions of this law for the comfort of immigrants on shipboard proved either inadequate or inoperative, but the section which provided for a list of passengers with name, age, sex and occupation of each to be given to the customs authorities by the ship's captain was effective. Such lists called manifest sheets have ever since been the source of information in regard to the number of arrivals in any year and we have these statistics since 1820.
CONDITIONS ON PASSAGE POINTED NEED
During the dozen years following 1820, there was great extension of American undertakings, not only in manufacturing, but also in canal construction and in the earlier phases of railroad building. The consequent demand for labor drew crowds from Europe, among them many undesirables, packed in ships regardless of comfort and decency. Modern exposure of steerage conditions on ocean liners shows nothing at all comparable with the horrors of a hundred years ago. To cross the ocean as an immigrant was then an adventure before which other experiences in pioneering paled. Only the hardy survived. The passage was long, anywhere from forty to seventy days when the trip was made in sailing vessels, and many who lived until arrival were so weakened by disease and starvation that they soon became objects of public care.
Before the middle of the century, conditions were so bad that objections were raised in Congress. Many of the immigrants it was reported died on the way, while others never recovered from the hardships of the journey. They had neither sufficient air space nor proper food. It is said i that out of
* Fairchild: Immigration, page 81.
ninety thousand immigrants who embarked for Canada in the year 1847, fifteen thousand died on the way, and the rate was not much less among those sailing directly to the United States. Current discussion and newspaper reports indicate that defectives and delinquents destined for the United States were being shipped from various ports, and that much money changed hands in the transactions. It was cheaper to transport undesirables than to maintain them in almshouses and jails. Such practices laid the foundation of hostility toward immigrants which is observable at the present time, and led to the enactment of state and later federal laws.
THE NATIVE AMERICAN PARTY
The organization in 1830 of the Native American Party is an indication of the growth of popular feeling against immigration, a feeling doubtless induced by the advent of so many thousands of Irish who were Catholic in religion and on that ground objectionable to the native-born who were practically all Protestants. The methods followed by the new party were not always above reproach, yet this did not hinder its growth in power. In 1845 the party had a national platform which called for abolition of the naturalization laws and the appointment to office of only the native-born. Although the Nativist movement did not achieve its ends, it served to show the existence of national antagonisms even before the volume of immigration was sufficiently large to become a real menace. About this time the potato famine in Ireland drove the Irish in great numbers to seek homes in the United States and this precipitated further opposition to aliens.
The states such as New York and Massachusetts that were receiving ship loads of immigrants enacted laws for their own protection. They endeavored to have passenger lists and other information submitted to the Mayors of sea ports, while New York even collected a head tax on all arrivals for many years. The Supreme Court of the United States, in 1819,