The coming of such a vast army from widely scattered quarters of the globe has exerted a marked influence on American life; so much so that our people have come to have a national identity of their own. As a result, American industry differs from that of England, France, or Color or Race, Nativity, and Parentage, Italy. The same is true of our social life, of our governmental ideals, and of our educational system. No one can ever know the exact source of each of our national characteristics; but we can well believe that the "melting" of the various European people into a new social and economic mass has resulted in a stronger and more rugged nation than would otherwise have been the case.
The typical immigrant has been a sturdy individual of an independent turn of mind, courageous enough to break away from old traditions and old influences to try his strength in the new country across the sea. He brought with by States: 1910
him an ambition to better his lot, and to reach this ambition he has been willing to work hard and to economize in every way possible. His guiding star has been a consuming desire to secure for his children better advantages than he himself had ever enjoyed in his old home in Europe. One or two generations have usually sufficed to break down any barriers or antagonisms which the immigrants may have brought with them. Even if the parents could not throw off their inherited prejudices, their children soon came to know the good qualities of each other and in time all of them became Americans.
All of the benefits, however, have not gone to the immigrants, for they must be credited with having done much of the hard and arduous work performed in this country during the past half century. Many of our leading industries have depended on them to keep their labor ranks filled; and how well our new citizens have met their responsibility in this respect is proved by the rapid development of our iron and steel industry, by the efficiency with which our coal mines are operated, and by the huge volume of products pouring out from our mills and factories. Moreover, the sciences and the arts have profited by the inflow of immigration; and it is reasonable to expect that these contributions will become a permanent part of American life, justifying thereby the belief that each flow of immigration makes its contribution to American life.