Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/405

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THE FOREIGNER IN AMERICAN CIVILIZATION.

tion movement, and this proposition, while it has been generally accepted, must be relegated to the already long list of popular prevailing fallacies; and although this movement may have been responsible for a slightly larger aggregate increase than if the natural increase had alone prevailed, it can scarcely be considered an important factor.

It is a well-known law of population that, other things being equal, the rate of natural increase of population varies in an almost inverse ratio to its density, so that as the density of the population was increased by the addition of aliens, the rate of natural increase declined, which is demonstrable from statistics furnished by the census records of this country.

Prior to 1830 the foreign arrivals constituted far less than five per cent of the entire increase, yet it was during the period from the close of the Revolutionary War to that year that the entire rate of increase was the greatest, and we witness from that time a steadily declining rate of aggregate increase and a steadily advancing rate of increase of alien arrivals; thus in the decade ending 1840 the foreign element constituted ten per cent of the entire increase, in 1860 it had risen to thirty-two per cent, and in 1890 to forty-five per cent, and while the action of the law may be slightly disturbed by the varying fecundity of the different nationalities among the alien immigrants, yet this disturbing factor is in part equated by the larger mortality usually prevailing among children of parents belonging to those races marked by the greatest fecundity.

It is my purpose in the following pages to briefly trace the immigration movement, and outline the more important developments in the nation's progress attributable to it. The early citizens of this country were, as in every other new state, a hardy race, inured to toil, unaccustomed to luxury, with little scholarship and less wealth; but with this addition, every white man was actually as well as theoretically the peer of every other citizen. There was no dominant class; there were few servants except the slaves.

Scarcely had peace been declared when the immigration movement began again, but it was not extensive, and up to 1810 the alien arrivals in this country varied from four thousand to six thousand annually. In that year, however, unfriendly relations, followed by war with Great Britain, for a time put a stop to this movement; but in 1815, a state of amity again prevailing, it resumed with increased vigor. Among the immigrant arrivals in these early days we find a large proportion of agriculturists, mechanics, and skilled laborers; the trouble of 1798 drove many of the ablest Irishmen hither, and the immigrants were usually the more intelligent and ambitious members of the middle classes. The British journals, in 1815, com-