Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/483

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
465
THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

Modern political boundaries will, therefore, avail us but little; they are entirely a superficial product; for, as we insist, nationality bears no constant or necessary relation whatever to race. It is an artificial result of political causes to a great extent. From the moment an individual is born into the world, he finds himself exposed to a series of concentric influences which swing in upon him with overwhelming force. The ties of family lie nearest: the bonds and prejudices of caste follow close upon; then comes the circle of party affiliations and of religious denomination. Language encompasses all these about. The element of nationality lying outside of them all is as largely the result of historical and social causes as any of the others, with the sole exception of family perhaps. Race may conceivably cut across all these lines at right angles. It underlies them all. It is, so to speak, the raw material from which each of these social patterns is made up. It may become an agent to determine their intensity and motive, as the nature of the fiber determines the design woven in the stuff. It may proceed in utter independence. Race harmonizes, at all events, less with the bounds of nationality than with any other — certainly less so than with those either of social caste or religious affiliation. That nearly a half of France, while peopled by ardent patriots, is as purely Teutonic racially as the half of Germany itself is a sufficient example of the truth of our assertion. The best illustration of the greater force of religious prejudices to give rise to a distinct physical type is afforded by the Jews. Social ostracism, based upon differences of belief in great measure, has sufficed to keep them truer to a single racial standard, perhaps, than any other people of Europe. Another example of religious isolation, re-enforced by geographical seclusion, may be seen among the followers of the mediæval reformer, Juan Valdés. Persecuted for generations, driven high up into the Alps of northwestern Italy, these people show to- day a notable difference in physical type from all their neighbors.[1]

Political geography is, for all these reasons, entirely distinct from racial and social geography, as well in its principles as in its results. Many years ago a course was delivered before this Lowell Institute by M. Guyot, the great geographer, subsequently published under the caption The Earth and Man. It created a profound sensation at the time, as it pointed out the intimate relation which exists between geography and history; but it was of necessity extremely vague, and its results were in the main unsatisfactory. Its value lay mainly in its novel point of view. Since this time a completely new science dealing with man has arisen,


  1. Archivio per l'Antropolgia, xx, pp. 61 et seq.; also R. Livi, Anthropometria militaire, p. 135.