Lapas attēli

was given as "Austrian." The Austrian-Poles, however, could be distinguished because they were so marked, and since the only other races from Austro-Hungary found in the region to any extent are the Slovak and Ruthenian, and also because of the character of the names, the remainder of the "Austrians" are included with these two races in the following table:

TABLE 66.-Present political condition of foreign-born male employees who have been in the United States five years or over, by race of individual.

[blocks in formation]

Considering the length of period (two years and nine months) included in the above tabulation, and the circumstance that all of the individuals for whom data were secured must have filed papers within five years, it is safe to conclude that the table represents with a certain degree of accuracy the rapidity with which the various races are becoming naturalized. No comparison between the races is possible, however, without some knowledge of the relative size of the groups from which they come.

There has been a marked falling off in naturalization in the county in which the community is located since the act of June 29, 1906, became effective. During the two years ending December 19, 1905, 1,307 petitions for second naturalization papers were filed in the county. Under the new regulations, during the two years ending October 29, 1908, only 73 applications for full citizenship were made in the same district. The court under the old law used to sit upon naturalization cases once a month; at present it listens to such cases only five times a year. Only 299 papers of intention were filed in the county during the period from October 13, 1906, to November 6, 1908. The chief reason for this decrease in the tendency toward naturalization is to be found in the increased difficulty attendant upon complying with the new regulations. Local race leaders claim that their people do not take out papers as much as they used to because they are now called upon to answer so many difficult questions, such as the date of emigration, vessel on which they came, ability to speak the English language, and other matters concerning which the immigrants frequently have no record.

The deterrent effect of the new regulations has undoubtedly been heightened through the fact that much of the naturalization under the former process was due to an artificial stimulation by pecuniarily

or politically interested persons whose ardor in encouraging citizenship has cooled off since the enactment of the new law.

Under a rule promulgated by the county court in 1897 the alien seeking citizenship was obliged to employ an attorney, whose fee was from $5 to $10. Enterprising lawyers were quick to realize the opportunity thus afforded for increasing their incomes. The naturalization files give the attorney's name on the stub of each granted petition, and it is to be noticed among the papers filed after 1897 that they were often secured in lots. Sometimes six, a dozen, a score, and in one instance over 90 papers were found to have been filed at one time by the same attorney.

In addition to the attorney's fee, the foreigner had to pay $3 for advertisement, and if he lived at a distance from the county seat his naturalization cost him also a day's work and a few dollars for carfare and meals.

The Poles and Lithuanians have several political organizations the purposes of which are to promote naturalization and the political advantages of their people."

While the Poles have several leaders and influential individuals whose prominence in local affairs would argue an unusually active civic interest on the part of the race as a whole, evidence indicates that the race falls behind the Lithuanians. A study of the composition of the local government shows that the Poles, with about the same size population as the Lithuanians, are represented in percentages less than one-half.

The following table shows the racial composition of the borough government of Community A in 1909:

TABLE 67.-Number and per cent of foreign-born males in the local government of Community A, by race of individual.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Both the Slovaks and Ruthenians have leaders who exercise some political power, but their aggregate number is not sufficient to influence local civic affairs. The Syrians have only one man of political influence in the community who is of much more importance than the combined leaders among the politically insignificant Italians.

Eight years ago the immigrant vote was not cultivated by the politicians of either party to the extent of bribing the quondam alien with offices in the borough government. By 1902 five of the dozen councilmen were from the immigrant class. The credit for this achievement is commonly given to the Irish. Except in presidential elections, the borough has been Democratic by from 100 to 400 votes since 1905.

The argument which it is said the Irish have used with strong effect upon the foreigners is this, "We are Democrats. You belong to the same church as we do. Therefore you ought to be Democrats also." And this line of persuasion has at times been reinforced by the political activity of the priests, notably among the Lithuanians.

In the general election of 1908 this line of argument proved a boomerang. In the spring of the year the archbishop had removed the popular rector of the local Lithuanian church and placed in his stead a former curate. It was under the guidance of the old rector that their magnificent church in Community A had been erected, and he was much beloved by his parishioners. His removal greatly incensed the congregation, who, upon his departure, took possession of the church property, and the new incumbent had to resort to legal process to gain an entrance to the rectory and the church. The Lithuanian congregation is still resentful and has largely deserted the


The archbishop is Irish; the attorney employed by the new rector is Irish, and most of his friends are Irish. The Lithuanians identified the Irish with the Democrats at election time, and when the votes were counted, to the chagrin of the local politicians, it was found that a normal Democratic majority of some 300 had been turned into a plurality of about 200 votes for the leaders on the Republican ticket. The attitude of the various races toward good government is not easily discovered, because very few questions of that character get a chance for discussion in the community. Both the Lithuanians and Poles have had organizations which ostensibly had good government as one of their objects, but in many instances selfish interests got control and either broke up the societies or defeated their avowed . purposes.

There is only one party-the Citizen's party-which professes to stand for good government. It is largely composed of men of affairs of the Welsh, German, Scotch, and Irish races, all now fully assimilated Americans and representative of the best elements in the borough. The Citizen's party had control of local affairs during the early part of the present decade, but their efforts did not win the confidence of enough people to enable them to cope with the saloonists and their greedy associates, who succeeded in putting them out of power in 1905.

It is impossible to make any discrimination between the races upon the score of reputations as citizens. The fact is that there are some respected citizens in all the races, except possibly the Italians. The average English-speaking person regards all of the immigrants as purchasable, ignorant, and vicious in a high degree. On the other hand, you will find Americans, Irish, and "Pennsylvania Dutchmen" who claim that they have esteemed friends among the immigrants, especially those who have been here long enough to get into business.


48296°- -VOL 16-11-45


« iepriekšējāTurpināt »