« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
and eastern Europeans. As regards the recent immigrants themselves, their general, as well as their industrial, progress and assimilation are retarded by segregation in colonies and communities where they have little contact with American life and small opportunity to acquire the English language. The sudden transplanting of such an agricultural class of the old world to the conditions and environments of American industrial communities renders the recent immigrant liable to serious physical and moral deterioration.
On the other hand, the existence of colonies of immigrants with low standards of living, and ignorant of proper measures for securing health and sanitation, constitutes a serious danger to the native-born portion of our industrial communities. The possible political and social manipulation of the recent immigrant population by unscrupulous leaders is not without serious import in its bearing upon American institutions.
Probably the most significant feature of the entire situation is the almost complete ignorance and indifference of the native American population to the recent immigrant colonies and their condition. This attitude extends even to the native churches, and very few agencies have been established for the Americanization and assimilation of southern and eastern European wage-earners. Not only is a great field open for social and religious work, but vast possibilities are offered for patriotic service in improving serious conditions which confront a self-governing republic.
THE IMMIGRANT IN AGRICULTURE
The Foreign-born Farmer in the United States and His Characteristics
The foreign-born farmer in the United States, as is well known, has a history almost as long as the country itself, and is representative of many racial stocks. In the census year of 1900 it was found that more than one-fifth of all the foreign-born male breadwinners in the United States, and over one-fourth of the native-born white bread-winners of foreign parentage, were engaged in agricultural pursuits. The total number on farms was 9,458, 194, of which number 2,105,766 were of foreign origin. About thirty per cent. of the immigrant families, consisting of Canadians, English, Irish, Scotch and Welsh, belonged to the English-speaking races. They are scattered all over the country and have, as a whole, become completely Americanized.
THE RACES FROM NORTHERN AND WESTERN EUROPE
In agriculture the Germans are numerically the most important. About three-fourths of the total number of males of foreign origin on farms are of this race. In 1900 the male agricultural bread-winners of German origin numbered 775,175. Of this number 348,265 were of foreign birth. The Germans have shown a tendency to assimilate readily with persons of native birth and with the older immigrant races from Great
Britain. They are frugal and industrious, and have been successful in almost every branch of agriculture. The second generation generally stay on the farm and remain in the territory where their fathers first settled. Some of the most prosperous German colonies of the present day have had an existence of fifty years or longer.
More than one-half of the male bread-winners of Norwegian parentage in the United States are in agriculture. Practically all of these are in the North Central States and the State of Washington. The total number engaged in agriculture is less than one-fifth of the number of Germans on farms, but the proportion in agriculture is greater than that of any other race. More than three-fifths of the Norwegians of the second generation live in agricultural communities, and are thriving there.
The Norwegians first settled in Iowa, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. They took up unbroken land, in many cases forested, and often selected narrow valleys like those of their home land, rather than the broader valleys or open prairies. Later Norwegian immigrants, however, have gone direct to the prairies of the Northwest, where they now carry on a diversified agriculture, emphasizing one or another crop, according to natural conditions.
The Swedish immigrants, who have settled on the land, have, as a whole, established themselves in the same States as the Norwegians. A larger percentage, however, are engaged in manufacturing and mining, and the concentration of the farming population by States is not quite so marked as in the case of the Norwegians. Slightly more than one-half of the first generation of Norwegian farmers are in Minnesota,
Nebraska and Iowa.
In Minnesota, Nebraska and
Iowa slightly more than two-fifths of the farm laborers of the first generation of Norwegians were reported in the Federal Census of 1900.
Another group of Scandinavian immigrants is formed by the Danes, of whom there were, in 1900, 105,749 males engaged in agricultural pursuits. Slightly more than 80,000 were of foreign birth, of whom more than two-fifths were farmers or farm laborers. The Danes have settled in the North Central States and have shown themselves successful farmers.
Of the other agricultural groups of immigrants, the Swiss perhaps are most worthy of mention.* There were 37,348 males of Swiss parentage engaged in agricultural pursuits in 1900. They are scattered in small groups all over the country, the largest number reported by any one State in 1900 being only 4,406. The greatest concentration is found in the States of Ohio, California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. The largest proportions are farm owners and a great many confine themselves to stock raising and the production of dairy products. Perhaps the most notable of the Swiss settlements is that in Green County, Wisconsin. It was founded in 1845, and now has a population of 8,000 persons of Swiss descent. The Swiss really originated the cheese industry in Wisconsin, about the years 1868-69.
Of the other immigrant races from northern Europe engaged in farming, the French and Austrians are the most important. According to the census of 1900, of the 106,583 male bread-winners of French parentage,
By Swiss is meant natives of Switzerland; according to race they may be Germans, French, or Italians; the Federal Census classifies them by country of birth only.
about one-fourth were in agricultural pursuits. The foreign-born report 11,365, or 22.1 per cent., in agriculture, 7,415 being farmers and 2,356 farm laborers. The second generation had 14,845, or 26.9 per cent., in agriculture, 9,047 of whom were farmers and 5,145 farm laborers. Of the 167,620 Austrians in gainful occupations, 9.6 per cent. were in agriculture, the foreign-born reporting 12,314, or 8 per cent., and the native-born 3,812, or 26.1 per cent.
THE SOUTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN FARMER
The races mentioned above have through many years of residence demonstrated their fitness for farming and their capacity for Americanization and assimilation. The most valuable, as well as the most interesting, question relative to the immigrant in agriculture is presented by the races of recent arrival in the United States from southern and eastern Europe and the Orient. There are two main reasons for this: (1) Immigrants of this class have been on the farms but a few years, and consequently, their success is not assured. (2) In their occupations in this country they have hitherto largely confined themselves to manufacturing, mining and mercantile pursuits, altho they have been of the non-manufacturing races in Europe, belonging to the peasant class. It is from these races that the agricultural immigrant of the future will be largely recruited, and consequently it is of interest to know their condition at present.
The consideration of the recent immigrant in agriculture divides itself into two parts arising from the status and work of the southern and eastern Europeans. In the first place, the colonies, settlements, com