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- Practical Argumentation - 40/43 -


inquiry, the industrial and the political. Nor can the two fields be examined simultaneously, for the reasons, if there are any, from a political point of view, why immigration should be limited, would not apply to the questions viewed on its industrial side, and _vice versa_.

Taking up first the industrial question, we may assume that the entrance of the swarms of immigrants into our country represents the introduction of just so much laboring power into the country, and we may also assume as a self-evident proposition that the introduction of laboring power into an undeveloped or partially developed country is advantageous until the point is reached at which all the laborers whom the country can support have been introduced. Adam Smith says that labor is the wealth of nations. If this is true, the laborer is the direct and only primary means of acquiring wealth. The facts of the history of our country bear out this view. Beginning with the clearing of the forests, the settlements of the villages, the cultivation of farms, proceeding to the establishment of the lumber industries, the cultivation of vast wheat and corn fields, the production of cotton, the working of the coal and oil fields of Pennsylvania, the development of the mining districts of the West, culminating in the varied and extensive manufactures of the Eastern and Central States, the laborer has been the Midas whose touch has turned all things to gold.

There is, however, a limitation to the principle that the introduction of laborers into a partially developed country is advantageous. A point is finally reached which may be called the saturation point of the country; that is, it has as many inhabitants as it can supply with reasonably good food and clothing. This saturation point may be reached many times in the history of a country, for the ratio between the food and clothing products and the population is constantly varying. New modes of cultivation, and the use of machinery, as well as natural causes affecting the fertility of land, which are as yet obscure, render a country at one time capable of supporting a much larger number of inhabitants than at another time. Still, there is a broad and general truth that, time and place and kind of people being considered, some countries are over-populated, and some are under- populated.

We are accustomed to say that some of the countries of Europe are over-populated, and there are among us some who are beginning to say that the United States has reached the same point. This is far from being the case, and a single glance at the comparative average density of population of the principal European nations and of the United States will be sufficient to drive this idea out of any fair-minded person's head.

The most thickly settled country of modern Europe is the Netherlands, which had, in the year 1890, the very large average of three hundred and fifty-nine inhabitants per square mile of territory. Great Britain came next, with the almost equally large average of three hundred and eleven inhabitants per square mile of territory. Germany had two hundred and thirty-four and France one hundred and eighty-seven. Taking in for purposes of comparison, though not of much force in the argument, China, we find there an average population of two hundred and ninety-five inhabitants per square mile of territory. It is a question of some difficulty to decide in any specific case whether a country has reached the point of over-population. We may admit that Great Britain, with its average of three hundred and eleven inhabitants per mile, is over-populated, though the conditions of life do not seem to be wholly intolerable, even to the lowest classes there. If Great Britain is over-populated, _a fortiori_ are the Netherlands, and we may even go so far as to admit that Germany, with its average of two hundred and thirty-four inhabitants per square mile, is over-populated. But when we come to France, with its one hundred and eighty-seven inhabitants per square mile, we may pause and see what are the conditions of the French people. So far as it is possible to judge of a people in the lump, it would seem that the population of France is not excessive for the area. The land holdings are divided up into very small lots, but are held by a great number of people. Mackenzie, in his history of the nineteenth century, says that nearly two-thirds of the French householders are landowners, while only one British householder in every four is an owner of land. This condition results partly from the difference in the system of inheritance of land in the two countries, but would be impossible if the country were over-populated. Moreover, there are five millions of people in France whose possessions in land are under six acres each.

Taking, then, the population of France, averaging 187 per square mile, as being at least not above the normal rate of population, what do we find in comparing it with the population of the United States? We find over here vast tracts of country, amounting to nearly one- third by actual measurement, of the whole area of the United States, and including all the States west of the Missouri and Mississippi valleys (except a portion of California), having a population of less than six individuals per square mile. It would seem as if the mere statement of this fact were alone sufficient to disprove any proposition which asserts that the saturation point of population has been reached in the United States. While that immense expanse of country averages only six individuals to the square mile, there can be no reason for saying that this country is over-populated. Coming now to the more thickly settled portions of the United States, we find a large area spread out over various parts of the States having a population between seven and forty-five individuals per square mile. In a very few States, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, the population of the whole State averages over forty-five and under ninety individuals per square mile, and the same average holds in parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, and isolated spots in the South. In a small territory, made up of parts of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the population averages over ninety per square mile.

The contrast between these averages of population in various portions of the United States, the highest of which is about ninety individuals per mile (and that over very small portions of the area of the United States) and the average densities of the European countries, previously examined, shows how very far the United States is from complete population. This appears still more clearly when the average population of the United States taken as a whole, is considered, which is the extraordinary low figure of twenty individuals per square mile of territory What a striking contrast! Can the most ardent advocate of the Malthusian doctrine claim that the United States already has too many inhabitants, or is in danger of having too many in the immediate future? Do we not rather need to encourage immigration, to fling wide open the gates of our country and secure as large an addition to our working force as possible?

When we come to the political aspect of the problem, however, a wholly different series of considerations present themselves. The question now is not how many citizens, but what sort of citizens. The theory of our government is not limited to any number of people. It provides for expansion in the number of representatives in Congress in proportion to the increase in population, and increases the number of Senators as new States are formed and added to the Union. Similarly each State government has elastic provisions which enable it to cover a population of 400,000 as well as a population of 40,000. But the one critical test in determining whether or not our immigration should be limited for political reasons is the character of the people whom we are admitting to the privilege of citizenship in the United States.

In order to investigate successfully the political effect of the immigration, it is necessary, at the outset, to divide it into its constituent nationalities, so that taking up each nationality in turn, we may see what fitness it has from its previous political training in its native country for undertaking the duties of American citizenship. The disintegration of the tide of immigration into these constituent parts affords some interesting information which will be seen to have a bearing, in several directions, on the questions under consideration in this article. Taking the statistics of the year 1891 as a typical year of recent immigration, the tide of immigration amounted in round numbers to 500,000 individuals.

The largest feeder of this enormous stream came from Germany, which sent, roughly speaking, 100,000. But a noticeable point about this nationality is the great decrease in the number of immigrants it has sent us in the last fifteen years. In the year 1882 the total German immigration into the United States amounted to no less than 250,000, but in 1883 and 1884 there was a great decrease, and since then the average has remained in the neighborhood of 100,000. We shall see later that on the other hand, the immigration from the Latin and Slav nations of Europe, particularly Italy, Poland, and Austria, shows an enormous rate of increase in the same period, although, of course, the absolute amounts are much less than those of the German immigration.

The next largest feeder to our stream of immigration in the year 1891, the typical year of our examination, was Italy, which contributed 76,000 immigrants to our population. It is noteworthy to remark, in this connection, that Italy has more than doubled her annual rate of contributions to our people in the ten years under consideration, the immigration from her shores in 1882 being only 32,000.

The next largest contributor is Austria, which in 1891 furnished 71,000 new members of our community. Austria, too, has doubled her rate of contribution, sending us in 1882 only 32,000. Next come, side by side, in their offerings to our population, England and Ireland, each of which countries sends us about 50,000 new inhabitants each year, and has continued to do so for the last fifteen years. Russia, exclusive of Poland, sent 47,000 in 1891, this being three times the number which she sent in 1882, a large increase. Sweden came next with 36,000 immigrants and that country shows a woeful falling-off of nearly one-half in the ten years under consideration, for in the year 1882 it sent 64,000. Poland in 1891 sent us 27,000 immigrants, showing an enormous increase of nearly sevenfold over its contribution of 4,000 in 1882. Scotland and Norway and Denmark all send about the same number, that is, about 12,000 each; Norway showing a diminution in the decade ending 1891, from 29,000 in 1882, but the other two remaining about stationary. Switzerland in 1891 sent 6,000, a diminution from 10,000 in 1882. The Netherlands sent 5,000 in 1891, a decrease from 9,000 in 1882. France sent 6,000 and Belgium 3,000, these figures being about the same during all the years covered by our investigation. I have left out of account the only other important factor in our immigration in the ten years considered, namely, China, because the door was shut in its face with considerable emphasis in 1883, and the immigration from China to the Western States, which in 1882 amounted to 40,000 fell in 1883 to 8,000, and in 1884 to 279 individuals, and may, therefore, be neglected at the present time.

Now, an examination of the political institutions in the countries from which these immigrants come would show that in almost no case, that of Russia and Poland alone excepted, are the elements of representative government wholly unknown to the common people. In most of these countries, some form of popular government has, either wholly or partially, gained a footing, with the inevitable result of accustoming people more or less to representative institutions. Yet the short time that this has been the case in many of the countries which pour half or over of the total flood of immigration into the United States, and the long centuries of despotism which preceded this partial and recent enlightenment, make it painfully evident that there can be, in the large part of our immigrants, little knowledge of the


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