The usual movements of population are so slow that they are scarcely perceptible in one man's lifetime. History only notes the outbursts or floods where artificial barriers have dammed back the fluid and it has burst through as in the excursion of Goths and other Germanic tribes to the south, or as in the recent flood to America. The little insect born in the morning and dead at noon, may think that the sun always shines in one place, and that is the way with us in regard to movements of population, but past records show tremendous though slow migrations. These are in their turn insignificant when compared to the prehistoric movements of dolichocephalic peoples extending through Africa, or the brachycephalic from Asia throughout the Pacific and thence throughout the whole of America. Anthropologists, like geologists, have given up all cataclysmic theories, and explain the peopling of the earth by processes now existing, just as geologists explain everything by forces still acting. The order of the universe is continuous and not cataclysmic*
* Prof. E. S. Morse, Popular Science Monthly, November, 1898.
Great popular crazes or manias have periodically possessed all peoples, phenomena to which psychologists give much attention. Absurd illogical ideas are taken up and believed for centuries. Under the influence of these crazes we find that populations occasionally move in great masses, and not by the usual slow oozing movements normally followed by survival. In the Crusades, for instance, we can see such movements, and it is quite likely that they were merely the results of internal tension of overpopulation - explosions instead of overflows. Millions of Crusaders flocked south toward Asia Minor, in the identical paths chosen by currents of people for thousands of years previously. As very few returned the thinning out of the home numbers must have been very beneficial. We can, therefore, look upon the Crusaders as temporary intensifications of the usual and permanent currents.
The peopling of the earth has, then, been by means of a slow oozing along the surface, of a sluggish mass, loth to leave its native place. In no other way is it possible to people a new climate, for in this way there is time for origin of new adjusted types by the law of selection. For instance, life in the tropics is impossible without a dark skin to exclude the fatal actinic rays of light. White races die out in a few generations, and rapid migration is entirely out of the question. But if there is an exceedingly slow movement, there is a killing of only the blonds in each generation and the survival of the most brunet allows of the origin of progressively increasing blackness as the tribe reaches the lightest and hottest regions - a matter which requires many millenniums. Anthropologists once grouped men according to the color of their skins, but we now know that this is merely a later change and not a safe means of determining race. Yellowish Asiatics have turned white in Europe though still brunet in type. Hence, if we follow back the line of descent we find a closer blood relationship between long-headed Africans and Teutons than between white long heads and white broad heads in Europe, such as we find side by side in Switzerland. The proofs of this inability to become acclimatized except by slow movement are very numerous, and will be given later. We rarely appreciate the enormous rapidity and volume of modern migration due to the fact that means of transportation are so efficient. It would ordinarily take many generations to go from Russia to France. Even the volatile eruptions of Huns took time, yet they were as nothing when compared to the present floods of Huns and allied peoples now pouring into New York.
* Professor Brabrook, Popular Science Monthly, January, 1899.
The following quotation from a description of the Slovak and the Pole in America* is a beautiful illustration of how a lack of transportation dams a population back and increases its density beyond the food supply, and how modern railroads are like tapping or tunneling through the dam so that the human flood pours out to a less dense area in search of food: "Thirty-five years ago the crescent-shape Carpathian mountains shut in their divers Slavic families in complete isolation from one another and from the outer world. Only the young man who had been drafted into the king's army knew of that strange world which began at the margin of the village pasture and ended in some distant province of the empire. Railroads were a far-off wonder, the telegraph a myth or a mystery, and America farther away than Heaven. About twenty-five years ago I saw the first Slavic emigrants returning to their native country from America; about a dozen stalwart men stepped from a third-class railway carriage at Oderberg. These first venturesome peasants came from the most impoverished and crowded portions of Hungary, populated by Poles and Slovaks, and the wealth they brought with them was real wealth, which incited others to leave home a while to gather the dollars on the other side of the Atlantic.
* E. A. Steiner, Outlook, March 7, 1903.
The wages in Hungary then were about fifteen cents a day, with long idle winters in which the 'wolf' came very near the door of every mud hut in the village, and the report of about ten times as much a day, with bread, beans, onions, and even meat for daily diet, made the timid Slovaks bold enough to climb over the mountains which shut in their native valley to seek their Eldorado, America. The coal mines of Pennsylvania, the steel mills, coke ovens, and limestone quarries of Ohio, needed their muscle, their patience, and their unvarying industry, and constant calls were made for new recruits, until the present number in this country is not far from 200,000 Slovaks and 300,000 Poles".
As before explained, the current is now westward across the Atlantic, but it is still out of Europe and not into it. M. Bodeo, member of the Statistical Institute, has shown* how this flood still keeps up and why it is mostly from the central and southern parts. There were checks in 1870, due to economic troubles in Argentina and Brazil, and in 1893 in the United States, and again in 1900 and 1908. He also shows why there is less need for emigration from the Aryan Northwest of Europe, whose people have learned how to buy food and import it instead of flowing out in search of it.
* Le Monde Economique.