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superficial differences. Large colonies of these people from Eastern Europe, they tell us, are found in those parts of our cities where vice and graft flourish and the corrupt politician gets his majorities. Because of their economic necessities and their ignorance of English they must live together in the poorest, most congested, and generally least desirable parts of a city. The bad conditions of such a district cannot, however, be laid at the door of the foreigner.
The segregated vice districts, the disreputable saloons, and gambling houses are supported by those who live in our better neighborhoods. In these so-called “tough " districts the for
“ eigners constitute the only hopeful element. Because of the entrance tests, the fact that only the more ambitious of the peasantry of Europe will undertake the journey, they are a rather selected group when their simple honesty and thrift are not an adequate preparation for the temptations of city life and the pressure of economic necessity. Forced by an indignant public opinion, the police keep the demoralized and vicious out of other parts of the city, but if an immigrant demanded the same protection for himself and his family he would probably be silenced by the reply that he did not appreciate the great blessings of liberty and industrial opportunity which the Republic offers. To expose these foreigners to conditions dangerous in their effects both on themselves and on the community may be unavoidable at present but to ignore them as possible instruments in the improvement of these districts is quite unintelligent. In the past this hopeful element has been left to the tender mercies of the ward politicians and has been allowed to learn from the bad housing, the poor streets, the open vice which are their daily experiences how law may profitably be defied in America. The hold of the boss upon the people of such a neighborhood was most clearly explained by Miss Addams in her book on “Democracy and Social Ethics.” It is soon known that he has favors to bestow or withhold; and that the police of the district have much respect for what he says. But it is not by corrupt manipulation or police oppression so much as by friendly service that the politician gets his hold upon these people. With all of them a job is an imediate and frequent necessity during their first few years in America. The number of men an alderman can put on a
city's pay-roll has been greatly reduced by the Imperative
extension of civil service, but certain ones still Need of a Job
make a business of getting men jobs. Owing to a quite unbusiness-like management of the hiring of men by large employers of casual labor, they are able to get men placed or removed by small favors given the foreman or boss.
I remember an Italian who showed me a letter which he said had secured for him several jobs. It was from an alderman whose reign in the 19th ward of Chicago has been long and notorious. It read: “This is a neighbor and a friend of mine, please give him work.” And long after that man has passed from the group of laborers who are dependent upon casual and irregular work and has become the prosperous owner of a grocery store he will remember his "neighbor and friend" and do for him whatever small favors he can. This is not because this man and others like him are not interested in the city and country.
Most of them are people in whom emotional patriotism is very strong. Fourth of July is more uproariously celebrated on Hal
sted street than in other parts of Chicago. Every Emotional
Sunday the American and Italian flags precede Patriotism
the band that plays the funeral march of some Italian, and the Greek Church for great religious festivals is decorated on one side with the American and on the other with the Greek flag. There have been several election scandals in recent years in Chicago's Ghetto and yet the Russian Jews who live there are giving their evenings to academic discussions of the fundamental concepts of liberty and lamenting American indifference to governmental questions. Undoubtedly here, as in the so-called better districts of our cities, a great deal of moral steam is going to waste because the confusion of municipal with state and national politics and the long list of elected officers make it extremely difficult for the American and almost impossible for the foreigner to cast an intelligent ballot. To expect a a Bohemian, after six or seven years' residence in this country, whose time has been fully occupied with holding his job and learning English, who finds a different set of political questions in Chicago from those which he knew in Prague, to inform him
self about several hundred candidates every year, to understand the complicated federal, state and local interests which he must consider, is manifestly absurd. Some of you, like the sanitary engineer, might conclude from this that in the interests of our political health this Bohemian ought to be excluded or the privilege of voting should be withheld from him at least. But acquainted as we are with the bewilderment of many Americans, it seems to me much more reasonable to argue that our immense foreign population is another very good reason why the number of elected officers should be reduced and the whole election machinery simplified.
An increased use of the referendum is also much needed. It is extremely difficult to explain to an Italian voter why he should
vote for John Smith and not for Sam Jones, The Referendum when both are claiming to be the possessors of Needed
all political virtue and honesty, and the latter is on the same ticket with the Italian notary public, who to the glory of Italy, is a candidate for the legislature this year. But if a question of policy or principle is submitted the case is different. Personal considerations are swept aside and men vote for something they can understand.
In 1907, in the 19th ward, Alderman Powers was elected by a vote of 4,478 out of a total of 6,225 votes cast, which shows how complete the hold of a boss upon his ward may be in spite of repeated efforts to dislodge him. The same year the vote on the street-car ordinance in the 19th ward stood 2,582 in favor to 3,393 against its adoption. The ordinance was one on which differences of opinion among intelligent voters was inevitable and it is most interesting to find that difference registered in wards composed very largely of foreigners and dominated by Alderman Powers, as well as in Hyde Park or on the North side. Last year the question of voting bonds for a tuberculosis hospital was submitted and the wisdom of the referendum for the foreign neighborhoods again demonstrated. That our police system needs reforming, that we need more parks and school houses, that we need better and cheaper transportation, the Polish workman knows better perhaps than any of you and yet under the present system of boss control he usually votes in effect against every reform measure which comes before the city council.
To utilize, in the interests of the community, the honest desire of many foreigners for better municipal conditions we should have not only a simplified ballot and wider use of the referendum but the leaders of these newer immigrants should be drawn into the general reform movements of our cities. Realizing that it is necessary to separate municipal questions from neighborhood and party interests through some permanent organizations which would unite all those interested in the cause, city clubs, municipal voters' leagues and national municipal and civic leagues have been formed. Because they are known to be disinterested and non-partisans they have been trusted to give correct statements of the real issues in an election and as a result the path to an honest ballot has been made very much easier for American voters. They have felt the confidence and sense of security which comes with numbers and able leadership.
Our northern and west European citizenship, having been here long enough to establish their political usefulness and to speak English as fluently as any of us, have also had a part in this movement, but the intelligence and eagerness of those who come from southern and eastern Europe is little utilized by our political reformers. Although the naturalized voter is able or is supposed to be able to read, write and speak English, they are all quite dependent upon their mother-tongue and so special time and effort must be given to make them understand what the real issues are. Last winter it was done when the question of voting bonds for a new tuberculosis hospital was submitted. The need of the hospital, and what was more necessary, how the ballot must be marked was successfully explained in their own language to many foreign voters.
The health department, co-operating with the United Charities and the various philanthropic agencies of the city, used the same
method of direct appeal in their effort to reduce Sanitary
the death rate among babies. The situation Instruction
there was exactly analogous to our political difficulties. The mother, more anxious than anyone that her baby might live, had to have it very carefully explained to her why she must not buy milk in pails from her next-door neighbor who was always a good friend of hers, and she had to be told why, although it was all right to feed the baby exactly what she herself ate in the country in Poland, milk and black bread, it would not do to give the baby what she and her neighbors around the stockyards regard as the American diet, beer and sausage.
The foreigner cannot follow his old political creed when he comes to America, any more than the mother can rear her children by the same rules, and because no one explains to him the situation here he adopts and abandons blindly and we all suffer in consequence. Our public schools are giving the rudiments of English to these people, but they should also give in the various foreign languages courses of lectures which would explain to them the problems of an American city. To wait until they have learned English sufficiently to understand such a lecture, if it were given in English which it usually is not, would be to wait until the damage had been done.
In addition to this an opportunity should be given these people to unite directly through their own groups in the work which
organizations like yours are doing. To preach Group
to them through their own press the gospel of Fellowship
honest government, to urge them to vote against some particular boodler, to vote for the man you are convinced stands for improved street-car service is not enough. Men cannot be held by promises of immediate utilitarian results to work for political reforms at considerable personal sacrifice, because the results rarely come when expected and the sacrifice seems entirely useless. If, however, they are part of a large movement they can count some victories as well as some defeats, can feel that in their next endeavor they will be stronger because the cause is stronger and former mistakes can be avoided, and the Italian who gets discouraged in the 19th ward of Chicago can be told of what they are planning to do in Pittsburgh and what there is still left to do in San Francisco. For, as I have said, the Bohemians, Greeks, Poles and other foreigners in Chicago and in every city in the United States are the only hopeful, healthful elements in certain diseased parts of our cities and they must be drawn into the larger reform movement if those parts of the cities are ever to be really improved.
The Socialist party is already doing this. Every large foreign