Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 66.djvu/170

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166
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
THE AGRICULTURAL DISTRIBUTION OF IMMIGRANTS.
By ROBERT DeC. WARD,
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.

MANY of the evils resulting from the enormous immigration of aliens into this country during recent years have been much aggravated by the congestion of these aliens in the slums of our large northern cities. For this reason, most of those who have studied the immigration problem seriously have come to the conclusion that if these immigrants could be removed from the slums, and distributed over the agricultural districts of the west and south, all the difficulties which are now met with in educating and Americanizing these foreigners could easily be disposed of. The vastness of the problem of the city slum, and the impossibility, even with unlimited resources of men and money, of permanently raising the standards of living of many of our immigrants as long as they are crowded together, and as long as the stream of newer immigrants pours into these same slums, has naturally forced itself upon the minds of thinking persons. This note was struck in the last Annual Report of the Boston Associated Charities in the following words: "With an immigration as unrestrained as at present, we can have little hope of permanent gain in the struggle for uplifting the poor of our cities, since newcomers are always at hand, ignorant of American standards." And in a recent study of the Chicago Stock Yards strike, in which the miserable conditions are described under which the newer immigrants employed in the yards live, we learn that "from the poorest parts of Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania, and Slavonia, these immigrants have poured in great overlapping waves into the stock yards. The standard of living of each wave rises slowly, constantly sucked down by the lower standards of the waves behind."[1]

The fact has become increasingly obvious during the past few years that in the 'Little Italys' the 'Little Russias,' the 'Little Syrias,' in cur city slums, we are finding more and more difficult and burdensome problems of public and private charity; of police; of education; of religious training; of public health.

Go down to Little Italy, says a writer of New York, and it is Italy. It has not only its market of Italian foods and other stuffs. It has its Italian feast days and processions and celebrations; and there are thousands of persons there who can hardly know that they have come from Italy.... It is a similar story, of course, that has many a time been told about the Ghetto. It differs

  1. The italics are the present writer's.