Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/495

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
491
THE CROSSING OF THE RACES

when guided by unscrupulous leaders this tendency often shows itself in riotous uprisings which are entirely out of proportion to the grievances against which they are directed. However, the Slav has one redeeming feature which, if properly utilized, might, in time, offset these undesirable characteristics. This feature might properly be called his great willingness to learn new things. He is not clannish. He has no innate deep-grounded instinct against getting acquainted. Naturally diffident and retiring on account of long centuries of class distinction, he is not prone to make the first advances, and consequently, if left to himself, he will tend to congregate with his kind. But his children quickly make friends with ours, and the foreign parents never discourage this tendency. Considering the short time that he has been with us, and his ignorance of our language, he has shown a marked tendency to amalgamate, and so long as we allow him to come at all, we should encourage this tendency, for although very different from us in his natural habit of thoughts and intellectual gifts, these differences are not of a kind that tend to produce moral or intellectual deterioration, and from a physical standpoint he will add to, rather than subtract from, the efficiency of our race.

The Slav and the Hun have been associated together so long in Europe, and their immigration to this country has been, in each case, extended over practically the same period of time, that it is quite the natural thing to consider them both together when making a study of their special race characteristics and possibilities of amalgamation. However, it is more a community of interests and political institutions than it is a racial identity that makes us class them together and speak of the Slavish and Hungarian immigrant as practically of the same kind. In reality these two stocks are essentially different and have shown rather wide differences in their respective abilities to adopt the ways of western civilization. The true Hungarians or Magyars are a Mongolian or Turanian stock. They left their Asiatic home about 1,000 years ago and descended upon Europe as a barbarous horde that for fifty years struck terror into the hearts of the neighboring inhabitants of Germany and Italy. Finally the Germans conquered them and they were almost at once forced to accept the alternative of western civilization or racial extermination. They chose the former, and immediately they demonstrated a high degree of adaptability to democratic political institutions. They united with the other kingdoms of eastern Europe to stay the march of the Ottoman Turks, and come in for a full share of credit in the series of events which finally resulted in the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571, when the long struggle between the two opposing religions for the possession of Europe and the consequent mastery of the world was forever settled in favor of Christianity. Thus we see that the Hungarians not only adapted themselves to western ideals, conforming to the manners and customs and religion of the