Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/496

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492
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

people about them, but they became the greatest active exponents of these ideals, and for over 500 years they were the main defence of Christian Europe against the Turkish tribes of Asia that followed closely in their footsteps.

Manifestly the western civilization thus upheld by the Asiatic Hungarian in eastern Europe is different in many ways from Anglo-Saxon or Germanic culture. Whereas a high degree of individual liberty has been the aim of both, the one has succeeded in attaining its goal by making self sacrifices and compromises for the common good, while the other has not yet attained complete freedom, largely because of a failure to understand the essential differences between liberty and license. In Hungary to-day we have a sad example of this seeming lack of ability to forget individual differences for the common good. In the eastern half of the monarchy, a Hungarian minority holds the non-Magyar races in just such political serfdom as they themselves were subjected to before 1866, when the Prussians established the preeminence of Germany in Austria. And yet, in all fairness, we must not too hastily assume that the Teutonic races have a monopoly of that political unselfishness which makes self government possible.

The Pole might justly say that the rebellion of the barons and the Magna Charta, which they exacted from King John, and which we are inclined to consider the first great step in the establishment of political equality was, in reality, no different from the republic of nobles in their own land, for, in each case, the mass of the people were little better off than before, both being left in a condition of practical serfdom. And the Hungarian might almost with equal truth say, that he is no more domineering over the non-Magyars in eastern Hungary than is the German minority over the Czechs in Bohemia, and the Poles in Gallicia. Whatever may have been the cause, the fact remains that the Irishman at home has never been able to attain any higher degree of political equality than the Pole or Hungarian, yet the Irish descendants of the immigration of fifty years ago have absolutely amalgamated with us, and now conform to the highest type of American citizenship.

The final amalgamation of the Slav and Hun with our native stock is a foregone conclusion, but what the final effect will be depends largely upon the time taken to complete the alloy. Were it possible to so regulate the numbers of the new arrivals that they would never be in excess of the number of their children attending our public schools, the problem would easily adjust itself, for then we should always have more real Americans in the making than we have non-Americans in reality. A study of the history of the Hun and Slav, and a careful analysis of their respective national characteristics, seem to warrant the conclusion that they are both amenable to the ways of western progress, and that we have more to fear from their great numbers than we have from any undesirable qualities inherent in themselves