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encouraging than for a number of years past. There is a demand on the part of the people for a better administration of public affairs, both in city, state and nation, but particularly in the municipalities. Never before have these problems been so thoroughly and so scientifically and so persistently studied as at the present time. Never, as Bishop Williams has pointed out, were books on these subjects so carefully written or so widely read; never was our periodical literature, even our popular newspapers, so full of serious questions and earnest thought in these directions; never was there such enthusiasm for the solution of problems that concern our common life as a people; and never were so many of our best men and women giving their minds and their lives, themselves, to the public welfare and service.”

The Effect of Immigration on Municipal

Politics.

HON. WILLIAM S. BENNET, NEW YORK,
Congressman and Member of the Commission on Immigration.

Properly, I presume, the subject of this paper ought to be the narrower one " the effect of recent immigration on elections in large cities," as I intend confining myself as strictly as the subject permits, to that field.

The effort to measure the effect of a particular class on so complex a question as that of the usual election in a large city, largely and naturally fails, through the fact that a class, large enough in itself to definitely influence an election result, is itself subject to so many differing exterior and contending influences that it is practically impossible ever to say didactically: this thing these particular people of themselves did because of themselves. I think we are beginning, too, to realize more and more the futility of attempting to say of any foreign people among us, that as a class they are wholly bad or wholly worthy, but to incline to judge them not as of a particular race or people, but as individuals, each with a separate responsibility. Nevertheless, there are two great elementary questions as to recent immigrants that persist, that are legitimate, and that to an appreciable extent can be answered:

First-How is our country preparing its city Two Great election machinery in relation to the present imQuestions

migration? and Second-How are our more recent immigrants adapting themselves to and availing themselves of our election situations as they find them?

The first is rarely asked, but is most important. Those who have read Mr. Steiner's description of the gang of newly-arrived aliens led to illegally to vote by the working boss, recall his simple

and vivid delineation of the contempt of our institutions instilled by that wrongful act. Much of our trouble in the past has sprung from the belief amongst newly-made citizens, justified by far too much evidence, that we ourselves have regarded elections as contentions to be decided not at all by argument, persuasion or reason, but by trickery, treachery, bribery, perjury, assault, forgery, deceit and even murder. It is not difficult to

recall how recently the ordinary election was Election

accompanied invariably by drunkenness and Machinery at Fault

usually by riot; the partisan boards, in New

York State at least; the polling places, practically in places where liquor was sold and the open, shameless buying and selling of votes. The new and impressionable citizen of even but twenty years ago had held out to him at election inducements to all that was worst in his character. If he held our elections and our institutions lightly, we had ourselves to blame for it. Along the lines of better elections we have improved immensely. In our great city the election boards are bi-partisan. The secret ballot has made the buying of votes precarious merchandising ; no polling place is now in a drinking place; public sentiment frowns on election-law violation; the average citizen resents electioneering, particularly on election day and near the polls; the workers therefore are fewer, there is rarely disorder and the day is relatively as peaceful as a Sunday. This is as it should be, the responsibility of the election, great on every individual, should be exercised amid surroundings which are at least respectable, serious and dignified.

The second question is partly answered by the answer to the first. Man moves much along lines of the least resistance, and

the stranger adapts himself to conditions as he Foreigners as finds them. Make your elections riotous and Independent Voters

corrupt and your new-made, foreign-born citi

zen riots and sells his vote with the native born; make the election day what it should be, the rigidly guarded place of the legal and formal expression of opinions formed on deliberation elsewhere, and you train your new citizen to thought and reason.

Our most recent citizens of foreign birth are, in great cities, our most independent voters. This is quite natural.

Many of us inherit both our politics and our religion. A very keen representative in Congress said to me recently, that when a man in his district deserted his father's politics or his mother's religion, it was regarded as the first sign of insanity and that actually it frequently was. We have been trained also in partisanship through great discussions on real issues of the past. We may not entirely approve our own party in every detail, but we have a thorough conviction based on by-gone days that there is much that is worse in the other—this whether we are Democrats or Republicans.

The new citizen has neither political inheritance, prejudice nor scars of conflict. He votes always in the present, sometimes for the future, but never in the past. Being poor, it is quite true that when there is corruption, he is among those approached. Being ambitious, the lure of minor place sometimes weighs with him more than principle. But in the main he thinks. By our own progress we have done more for him than he will ever know. We have taught him that elections are properly approached through thought, and by making them fair, we are teaching him that thought and the expression of it are the most valuable possessions of the elector. The thinking voter necessitates the fit, or at least acceptable, candidate. Our recent New York City election gives us room for thoughtful study of the new citizen. In connection with this, it should be carefully borne in mind that in no great city is the naturalized voter a newly-arrived immigrant. Four or five of our states still permit aliens to vote, some immediately on filing declarations of intention, some on as short residence as six months, but none of these states contains one of our largest cities. In cities, then, the newly-made voter is a resident in this country, certainly for five and usually for more years, before he votes even for the first time. Candidates in foreign-speaking localities frequently address audiences, the majority of whom either by age or alienage are unable to vote. This has a distinct educational value for the future but advances a present election very little.

The 644,000 electors who had the right to participate in our recent election were, thus, either native born or having five years or more residence. Of the 644,000 who registered about 590,000

voted. These divided their votes roughly as follows: Gaynor, Tammany and Democrat, 250,000; Bannard, Republican and Fusion, 175,000; Hearst, 150,000. Four years ago the vote was Tammany 226,000, Hearst 224,000, Republican 137,000. Therefore this year both the Tammany and Republican candidates gained at the expense of Hearst. The exact significance of this is immaterial and accounted for readily by a variety of causes. The important fact remains, that 150,000 voters, without particular leadership or organization, left party ranks and voted for an individual of their choice.

As historians, we must admit the tremendous fact of this personal following. The general impression is that this vote came

largely from foreign born. This is not entirely Mr. Hearst's

correct, but Mr. Hearst's vote among the foreign Appeal.

born was great, and, more than the other two candidates combined, he attracted that vote. It becomes important then to analyze Mr. Hearst's appeal. Much of it we find to have been on right lines. We cannot quarrel, because of those views, with a candidate who asks votes because he has fought against railroad rebates, corporate exactions and fraudulent elections. Under New York City conditions we cannot quarrel with one who advocates the building of immediate transit facilities with city money. It was also rather begging the question to assert that Mr. Hearst exaggerated his efforts and usefulness in relation to these matters. The personal and temperamental fitness of a candidate is always an element to be considered, and in Mr. Hearst's case it was, though more in private than in public discussion. His record as a persistent absentee during his Congressional service and the legitimate argument from it that he would be a negligent mayor, cost Mr. Hearst more votes among those friendly to him among the foreign born, than he probably imagines.

Mr. Hearst never made an appeal for support on the ground that it would be of any personal assistance to himself. His appeal was frequently to the self-interest of the individual and quite generally to his highest interest as a citizen in the welfare of the whole body of politics. His appeal was also, quite generally, to the elemental moralities. He favored policies because,

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