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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/153

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GERMAN INFLUENCE IN LATIN AMERICA

It is not to be disputed that the German business man, whether in commerce or in the industrial professions, assumes always in Latin America a positive antagonism to the American from these states, often violent and offensive. This action is partly the exhibition of his inflated vanity and partly proceeds from his spirit of business rivalry.

Dr. Herman Meyer, a founder of a German colony in southern Brazil, in an address before the Berlin Colonial Society, said, in December, 1904, that United States merchants are trying to win the trade of the German settlers in Brazil and that therefore it will be necessary to assist the colonies with German capital for the purpose of building railroads and creating industrial establishments.

The pronounced opinion of Dr. Vosberg-Rekow, director of the Bureau of Commercial Treaties, before a meeting of Leipzig merchants, that "Germany must have annexation of more territory beyond the sea, with the organization and the direction of emigration thereto"; the warning of the Italian admiral, Count Canevare, that "European nations may have to consider the necessity of uniting against America," with the concurrent expression of Count Goluchowski, the Austrian minister of foreign affairs, are not agreeable trumpetings across the seas, but they bear no relation to the power or character of the German influence at present existing in these western continents.

A positive and powerful German influence, the grand ally of the Americanism of free opinion with its expression, is exercised in all countries settled by German immigration; it is radically liberal in religion and politics, without the element of anarchism; antimonarchistic and altogether contemptuous of conditions existing in the countries of its adoption.

This statement requires qualification when treating of the larger "assisted" colonies which contain inferior classes of population. Thus in Brazil a considerable proportion of the German immigration is of peasantry of Baden-Baden, whose people, the last to be joined in the German confederacy, came into the empire through conquest. The ruling power of the principality is protestant in religion, while two thirds of the population is Romanistic, and furnishes the element which is peopling the southern states of Brazil. They are, in the main, a thick-headed, patient, industrious race, repaying the Prussian contempt with sincerely cordial hatred. They find in Brazil a mentally stimulating life, an emancipation from protestant though liberal rule, allowing them an assumption of superiority over the natives of the new country. Their priests are men of character, superior to the native clergy in every element of intellectual, moral and spiritual life, while they possess a fair degree of learning and are devoted pastors. But these German peasants of Brazil are superstitious and illiterate when compared with the Germans, scattered over the continent as merchants, clerks, brokers, bankers, planters and teachers. Their influence on