Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 87.djvu/271

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THERE are but three ways in which the force of a race or a nation may be permanently lowered: (1) Emigration, the transfer of stronger elements to other regions; (2) immigration, filling up the gaps with people of lower native ability or energy; (3) war, the destruction of the virile and soldierly.

Emigration has played a large part in the depletion of peoples in different districts of Europe and even in older sections of the United States. This may mark a loss to the particular region involved, but none to the world, the value of a man and his posterity, broadly speaking, being as great in one place as in another. Moreover, the pioneer gains by travel, picking up something on the road, though he may also lose through separation from the framework of society. In the new freedom he tends to fall out of touch with the achievements of the old social fabric. Much of human effectiveness consists in entering into the work of others. But, on the other hand, the pioneer will escape many hampering traditions, and the sturdiness of racial stock is in no way dependent upon culture, the social values of native strength reasserting themselves when opportunity offers. Meanwhile, the gains in the new world may be traced as losses in the old. For example, from the counties of Devon and Somerset arose, primarily, the colony of Massachusetts Bay. From the loins of Old England, New England arose, and from self-governing New England, the democracy of the United States. From Devon especially came forth the Puritan conscience, most precious political heritage of the republic. Under its influence every public act finds its final test in moral standards. Such standards still rank more highly in America than in any other land. The American people may consent to unrighteous deeds under the impulse of falsehood or greed, but only for a time. They make many mistakes in the rush of events. They may apply standards wrongly, but, if they do, the case comes up again for settlement until at last it is settled rightly.

By immigration, lands scantily occupied by barbarous races have been replaced by peoples more efficient or more aggressive. Through the same agency strong nations have sucked in weaker groups to fill the vacuum caused by war or to meet the demands of industry. The history of America, North and South, has furnished examples of all these. Through conquest by war as well as out of industrial needs grew up the