Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/413

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THE FOREIGNER IN AMERICAN CIVILIZATION.

delinquent classes is derived from the Celtic element. The Irishman is practically a man without a country; he owes an ill-rendered fealty to the British crown until he leaves his native island and swears allegiance to the American Government, but the oath rests lightly upon him; all the patriotism which he possesses is centered in that ill-starred rebellious dependency of Great Britain on her west. While on the surface more easily assimilable than the Teuton because he speaks the language of his adopted country, he is first an Irishman,[1] then an American, and such only so far as it is an America of the green flag. A distinction must, however, as already observed, be drawn between the natives of the north and those of the south of Ireland—the Saxon Ulsterites and the Celts. From the latter is derived the large proportion of our delinquent classes; the Molly Maguires were Irishmen, and it is the Irish who have had the largest share in the corruption of our governmental institutions. The Ulsterites, on the contrary, being principally of Scotch and English stock, partake of the characteristics which mark the British alien in America.

It is unfortunate that a few unassimilable Englishmen, who never had any intention of becoming assimilated, and who are at all times aggressively British, should have conveyed the impression that the British immigrant does not make a good citizen. On the contrary, there are to-day over a million people in all parts of this country born in Britain, honest, frugal, hard-working, and industrious, fulfilling by reason of their close affiliations with the people of the United States all the requirements of the best American citizen.

There are, as we know, other races, Latin and Slavonic, wretched and ignorant, the superlatively low, the refuse of civilization, unaccustomed to freedom, unacquainted with equality; they have the privilege after a brief period of residence of exercising all the rights of native-born citizens, but only value the franchise at the pecuniary worth, or vote blindly under the direction of some corrupt demagogue. Coming from a condition bordering upon serfdom, it will be found that they are almost unassimilable, in the first generations at least; incapable of distinguishing liberty from anarchy, these people—principally Russians, Poles, Hungarians, and Italians—are landed on these shores in numbers probably in excess of fifty thousand a year.

The anarchist and ultra-socialist parties do not, as is commonly supposed, derive their chief support from the Teutonic element; their ranks are rather recruited from among these members of the Semitic


  1. The great pilgrimage which will be made to Ireland during the coming summer by thousands of American citizens of Celtic extraction to celebrate the centenary of 1798 furnishes us with one demonstration of this proposition.