Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/491

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THE CROSSING OF THE RACES

opportunity. The German will marry any woman of any white race. The Italian will do the same. The Alpine races have intermarried to the north and south of them until their mental traits shade off almost imperceptibly into those of the German and Italian. As a general rule, marriage between different branches of the white races is not governed by laws essentially different from those governing individuals of the same branch. It is chiefly a question of proximity of the sexes and the lapse of sufficient time to make the mutual desires mutually understood.

The vital question is, whether this inevitable amalgamation is worth the fostering care and regulation of our government. The answer to this question depends altogether upon what will be the results of this immigrant blood upon our own individual selves and upon our social and political institutions.

In regard to the influence upon the individual physical type, we often hear it said that we are becoming a smaller and a darker race; that our average stature is less than it used to be, and that we are becoming dark eyed and dark haired, instead of the race of tall blonde we once were; and there is a tendency to blame the immigration of the last half century for this alleged change in physical characteristics. If such a change is taking place, it should be attributed to the influence of our climate rather than to the effect of blood admixture. The stature and complexion of a people seem to be determined, in the long run, more by the locality and climate in which they live than by any other influences, although it takes many generations for that physical type to be finally evolved which is best fitted to the climatic conditions of its particular locality. Once evolved, the type remains fairly constant for the given region. Judging the future by the past, we should not expect the tall blonds of northwestern Europe to permanently survive in the United States. There is scarcely a trace of the physical traits of the conquering northern hordes left upon the general mass of the population of Italy or the Alpine regions of Europe. The colony of Swedes which settled along the Delaware in our own country have entirely disappeared. The Scandinavian, according to Dr. Karlsen, who has made the subject a matter of special study, rapidly deteriorate, physically and mentally, under the changed climatic conditions which he encounters in his new home in the northwest of our own country, and no less an authority than Woodruff, believes that he will soon die out in the United States unless active measures are taken to offset the baneful influences of a climate to which he is temperamentally and physically unsuited.

In evolving the type of man physically fitted to best survive in a given locality, nature seems to work according to some mysterious laws entirely beyond human control. This is exemplified in the population of modern Egypt, where the mass of the people as represented by the villagers along the Nile and in the country districts, conform almost exactly in physical appearance to the colored portraits of the ancient