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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/338

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MIGRATION


292


MIGRATION


become that Congress has for many years lepislatetl with tlie view of (irevenfinp; further aid of tliis kiml.

Migration today differs in many important par- ticuhirs from that of earlier times. Down to a quite recent date peoples moved as tribes, nations, or races, moving and settling en masse. Taking forceful pos- session of extended areas, they maintained tlioir in- diviiluality either under colonial systems or as sepa- rate groups: they tinally eslablislied nations. With these migrating groups went their own institutions, language, religion, industrial methods, and political antl legal systems. Usually they moved into unin- habited or sparsely settled areas, where no question of amalgamation could arise. With certain exceptions, the Roman Empire being the most noted, migrations have entailed the settling of a highly cultured people among tliose of a lower culture. In all such cases of migration en masse the native habitat was forever abandoned, and the migrating tribes, thoroughly equipped, entered a new environment and yielded en- tirely to new influences. In these particulars different conditions now obtain: migration is effected by fam- ilies and individuals. These go from dense and highly cultured populations where free opportunity is usu- ally closed, taking few possessions with them ; their language survives during their own generation, and in the succeeding one is exchanged for the language of the adopted country, though they usually retain their religion. They must fit into a new industrial system, however, unlike their own. As a rule, they renounce their natural political allegiance and assume a new political status, abandoning the relations attaching to their former status and assuming new political and contractual relations. Such migration means to the emigrants the death of a nation, so far as concerns them, while to their new country it brings a serious modification, the extent of which depends upon the relative virility of the newly added national element.

These characteristics of modem migrations have given rise to a threefold movement. In certain lands, as Germany, where migration to America means a loss to German citizenship, attempts have been made to colonize, and thus save the migrating persons to Ger- man citizenship and culture. Those nations, more- over, which they enter look with increasing caution and suspicion on the numliers and character of the incoming population. When once admitted, the problem presents itself of granting them citizenship. To what extent shall the immigrant assume the rights and duties of an acquired nationality? The problem of migration is thus inextricably botmd up with a political one.

C.iu.sES OF Migration. — The primary cause of the migration of peoples is the need for larger food sup- plies. From the time when nomadic peoples were constantly migrating down to the present westward movements, one principle has been uniformly fol- lowed — they have gone from areas of low, to areas of high food-supply. This has been a constant im- pelling and expelling power. In the last analysis, migration results when the forces of increasing popula- tion and decreasing food supply are not in equilibrium, and it tends to efjuilibration of forces among societies of men: equilibration of food in relation to population; equilibration of rights as related to authority; equili- bration of industrial energy as between labour and capital. These express in the most general terms the meaning of migration. First came the tribal migra- tions, such as the exodus of Lot and Abraham towards Zoar and their subsequent separation in search of richer pastures. The nomad tribes on the steppes of Asia, take up the journey to the waterways to find richer pastures for their herds. The migration of Germans, Slavs, and similar nations came later, and, pushed on by the same inexorable necessity, they moved south from the Caspian ami Baltic regions, overrunning Rome, and taking possession of Gaul and


Britain. With the industrial changes in England, •when the modern age dawned, lessening supjilies of food pushed men beyond the sea. In more modern times the hunger-stricken peoples of European lands have come to the new parts of the world, to America, Nortlian.lSdulh; to .\usiralia and South Africa; from lUissia they have pushed into Asia, while Japan lays hold of outlying islands where congeste<l population may find room for expansion. Moreo\-er, there are secondary causes which play back and forth with vary- ing degrees of force and effectiveness. These causes operate temporarily though powerfully. They usually act reciprocally in the ditferent countries, and, like the sun and moon affecting the tides, now oppose each other, now act in conjunction.

At the close of the eighteenth century a change in the attitude of the princijial governments resulted in greater freedom for those who wished to migrate. During the first half of the nineteenth century the laws limiting or prohibiting emigration were gradually modified or repealed. At this time most countries, es- pecially those of the Western world, favoured immi- gration, and few limitations existed checking the flow of population; free action was thus secured to social, political, and economic causes. The variations in the flow of immigrants to the llnited States illustrate with special clearness the operation of these causes. From 1820 to 1S33 the number of immigrants gradually increased, but as hard times began here, culminating in the panic of 1837, immigration fell off. More marked still were the effects of economic conditions from 1846 till 1857. During this period unusual ac- tivity showed itself in the United States. Under the influence of Clay's tariff measures, manvifactures had grown, creating an enlargetl demand for labour, which was not forthcoming from the native population. The opening of Western lands absorbed much of the labour that othenvise would have gone into industry, and also drew on foreign sources for increased supply. The greatest impulse, however, was given by the dis- covery of gold in California in 1S4S. Not only was there a great demand for labour on the Pacific Coast; the eff'ects of the discovery of gold were more far- reaching. Prices were high, money plentiful, business, so sensitive to these influences, was greatly stimulated, and a heavy demand for labour was created. By an interesting coincidence European economic conditions also favoured a heavy migration. With bad crops and sunless summers throughout Europe, the climax was reached in the potato famine of 1847 in Ireland. This destructive calamity occasioned a heavy migra- tion from Ireland to the United States, where abun- dant and increasing opportimity was to be found. At the same time certain ]i(jlitieal causes operated in Europe. Notable among these causes was the over- throw of the attemptei-1 re\olutions in the tSerman states, especially Prussia; large numbers of the Liberal Party left Germany. The results of the Crimean War are less easily measured, though it probably sent a certain number to our shores. The operation of these causes may be read clearly in the following statistics: in 1844, 78,61.5 persons came to our shores; in 1845, 114,371; in 1846, 154,416; in 1847, 234,968; in 1848, 226,527; in 1854 the high-water mark was reached when 427,833 immigrants landed here.

Equally forceful were the causes of immigration which manifested themselves at the close of the Civil War. Checked by the war, industry advanced by leaps and bounds at its conclusion, and men and capi- tal were in abnormal demand. Immigration increased from 72,183 in 1862, when the national disaster was at its worst, to 459,403 in 1873. During the mis- fortunes following the panic of 1873 the number fell (in 1878) to 138,4(59. In the eighties bad economic conditions again somewhat influencerl migration to the tTnite<l States, when it fell from 788,992 in 1882 to 334,203 in 1886. The panic of 1907 and the