Lapas attēli

Europeans. From one-third to three-fifths of these newcomers, the proportion varying according to race, had been engaged in agricultural pursuits before coming to the United States, but not one in ten have settled on farms in this country. They have found employment in the textile manufacturing localities of New England, the iron and steel, glass, clothing and coal producing cities and towns of the Middle and Western States. They have also penetrated to the West and Northwest and constitute in those sections the greater part of the operating forces of the mining and manufacturing establishments. There is scarcely an industrial community of any importance outside of the Southern States which has not its colony of Italians, Slavs, Hungarians and numbers of other races of recent immigration. In all sections the immigrant colonies are marked by a high degree of congestion and unsatisfactory and often unsanitary living conditions. The earnings of husbands are not sufficient to maintain an independent form of family life. Wives and children are at work in the mills and factories. Sleeping and living rooms of the households are crowded with boarders and lodgers who have been taken into the homes in order to supplement the family income. The significance of the entire industrial situation is that our manufacturing and mining localities are congested with an alien population of agricultural training and manner of life, while our farming communities are clamoring for more labor which they are unable to secure.

Why the Immigrant Does Not Go to the Land

When it is recalled that practically all of our immigrants of recent years are of non-English-speaking races, the principal reason for their failure to settle upon the land is apparent. They do not wish to become separated from members of their own race, upon whom they not only depend for an expression of their wants but to whom they also expect to turn in times of emergency or necessity. As a consequence, the alien of recent arrival seeks the colonies of his own people in our cities and towns. He becomes a miner, a steel or glass worker, or a textile operative, but does not enter farming.

There are also other reasons why the southern and eastern European does not go to the farm. Chief among these is the fact that the average immigrant of recent years, unlike his predecessor from Great Britain, Ireland and northern Europe, does not intend to remain permanently in the United States. After a few years of work and privation, he hopes to accumulate enough money to enable him to return to his native land and purchase a farm, remove a mortgage from property he already possesses, or to improve his economic status in some other way. He is not possest of the pioneering spirit which would lead him to create a home upon new or vacant lands in this country. He wishes to earn as much as he can within a limited time, and by living upon a basis of minimum cheapness to save the maximum amount possible. The inducement held forth by an industrial establishment offers the most available means for the gratification of this ambition. The invention of improved machinery renders it possible for the manufacturer or

mining operator to offer employment to the cheap and untrained alien. Furthermore, the necessitous condition of the present-day immigrant when he arrives in the United States makes it imeprative for him to seek work at once under any conditions which may be offered. He has no money with which to purchase land or to enter into any kind of farming which requires an outlay of capital. As a result of these conditions, the southern and eastern European farmer or farm laborer becomes transplanted to a new industrial environment in this country.

Getting the Immigrant on the Land

From the experience which has already been had with the recent immigrant, it is clearly apparent that if the dearth of farm labor and the congestion in the large industrial centers are to be relieved, the movement of the southern and eastern European to the land must be artificially stimulated. Under present conditions he has neither the means or the inclination to engage in agriculture. The barrier of language also prevents him from becoming a pioneer or independent farmer. It is this fact also that has rendered all past attempts toward inducing recent immigrants to become farmers, failures, unless they proceeded upon a colony or a community basis. Future activities in this direction must also be supported by large resources, for it will be necessary to maintain the foreign-born farmer while the land is being cleared and prepared for cultivation, and also to advance him the necessary stock and equipment with which to begin his labors. Undoubtedly the most successful policy in attracting recent immigration to the land would be

to select those who are now living in industrial cities and towns and who have become partly Americanized and have accumulated some savings. Representatives from all races among this class of industrial workers are almost without exception anxious to improve their economic condition by engaging in agriculture. They are usually good intensive farmers by training and heredity. The fact that they can speak English and are usually possest of a small amount of capital would also greatly simplify the problem of getting them successfully started on the land. The colonization agencies of the South and of other sections of the country, which are seeking to attract settlers to their vacant lands, will be permanently successful if they will give proper consideration to these teachings of experience and of existing industrial conditions.



In the immigrant colonies of industrial towns and cities, institutions have been developed to meet the peculiar needs of the immigrant population. Each has an important bearing upon the life of the community. The most noteworthy of these are the immigrant banks, steamship agencies, churches, schools and press. The most important is an institution commonly called an immigrant bank.

Unregulated Immigrant Banks*

Recent investigation has developed the fact that a large number of so-called banks, organized for the purpose of doing business with the unassimilated immigrants of recent years from southern and eastern Europe, have been established in most of our industrial localities of any size or importance. A large number-some thousands of these institutions exist at the present time in the United States. The larger proportion are located in the manufacturing areas of the Middle States and New England, but in smaller numbers they are doing a flourishing business in all

An investigation of Immigrant Banks was conducted as part of the general Industrial Investigation of the Immigrant Commission. A number of field agents collected data from these institutions, Messrs. W. H. Ramsay and Raymond Kenny being chiefly engaged in this work. A special report was prepared on this topic by Mr. Ramsay, which, after some revision by Mr. F. J. Bailey of the editorial staff of the Commission, was published as a special document.-See Report of the U. S. Immigration Commission on Immigrant Banks, Senate Document No. 381, 61st Congress, 2d Session.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »