Page images
PDF
EPUB

OUR DIVIDED COUNTRY

BY HENRY J. FLETCHER

ent aspect; especially so when we turn I

from an anxious study of a world at war DURING the first century and a third to consider the resources upon which of our existence as a nation, it was the we can rely for defense, in the event policy of the United States to encour- that the conflagration should ultimate age the settlement of our vast public do- ly reach us. main as rapidly as possible, and we ur- It is becoming every day more and gently invited immigration from every more clear that, in time of war, that European country. In order to hasten state is relatively strongest which has the Americanization of the millions ac- the most homogeneous population, and cepting our invitation we invented the that state is weakest whose population theory, then perhaps new in the world, is most heterogeneous. When it comes that every man has a natural right to to marshaling the energies of a country throw off his old allegiance upon emi- for attack or defense, the spiritual forgrating from his native land, and to ac- ces to be mobilized are at least as imcept citizenship in any country he may portant as the material, perhaps more please to choose for his domicile. Ev- so;

and whatever influences are at work ery enterprising politician understood to disintegrate the unity of the state the advantage of bidding for the sup- must be taken into account in making port of the new citizens by being most an inventory of its available strength. warm in welcome, most active in con- Few nations suffer so much from diviferring the rights of citizenship upon sive influences as the United States. them, and most eloquent in explaining Its citizenry is a mixture of all the rahow the European peasant, who never ces of the earth; and there is increasenjoyed the slightest participation in ing evidence that, as respects many of the government of his native country the elements which compose the mass, and was therefore utterly inexperienced they are imperfectly assimilated, and and as ignorant as a child of the prin- as respects many others, they have not ciples of civil government, was never- undergone the slightest change in betheless abundantly qualified to exercise ing transported to our shores. Alleall the prerogatives of popular sov- giance to one's country is not a matter ereignty. Now that we have a popula- of words or declarations. It cannot be tion of a hundred millions, so dense put on and off at will. If a Mongolian that migration to Canada on a large were permitted to be naturalized in scale has been going on for years, so

the United States, he would be as much dense that Iowa in the last decennial a Mongolian after naturalization as census period lost so much population before; and he would continue to be as to cut down her representation in a Mongolian in his sympathies, his inCongress, the question of immigration stincts, his political and social concepand naturalization takes on a differ- tions, until he had lived here through

а

a

generations enough to take the Mongo- minion over them and their anceslian character out of him and his de- tors, and the claims of the government scendants. His declaration on oath of the country which still asserts its that he was attached to the principles sovereignty over its subjects in whatof the Constitution, and that he re- ever part of the world they may have nounced allegiance to any other prince, their domicile. Allegiance is a matter potentate, or sovereignty, and partic- of psychology, quite as much as of law. ularly to the Republic of China, would In short, it is simply a question of the have only the slightest effect upon him thoroughness with which the meltingwhen his adopted country came into pot has done its work. Until the naconflict with the land of his nativity. tionality of the immigrant and his deThe United States is unquestionably scendants has been melted and recast, wise in refusing naturalization to Ori- he is still at heart a foreigner; he is an ental races, whose allegiance in the na- element of weakness and disunion, and ture of things could only be skin deep to that extent he will be a traitor to his Naturalization should be the outward adopted country whenever that counand visible sign of an inward and spir- try comes to death-grips with the land itual transformation -- not merely a of his birth. The instinct of nationalvaccination-mark to be carried by the ity, which it has taken centuries of sufwearer as a proof of his immunity from fering and sacrifice for his native land foreign military service.

to breed into him, cannot be obliteratThere are not enough citizens of Mon- ed by a superficial ceremony of naturalgolian descent in the United States ization and a few years' residence here. to make the question from their stand- The only patriotism that is worth anypoint interesting; but if there are nine thing, or that can be relied on to give millions of German birth or descent, its life to save the life of the state, is three millions of Scandinavian, one one that has been mellowed by time and a half of French, more than two and wrought into the spiritual fibre. of Italian, ten of English, the ex- Just now the German-American part tent to which their presence weakens of our population is glorying in its Gerthe country becomes a matter of the manism, and is organizing itself in all

a first magnitude. The strength of the sorts of ways to resist as stubbornly tie of allegiance to the United States as as possible the process of Americanizaagainst the country of their origin, in tion and to preserve as perfectly as poscase of life-and-death struggle between sible its national characteristics. This the two, is something which the indi- is not mentioned as a fault, but merely viduals themselves are wholly incap- as a fact. It is the more interesting beable of estimating in advance. It de- cause it is not true of any other section pends upon the extent to which the old of our naturalized citizenship to the ties have been weakened and new ties same degree. There are organizations formed here. It depends upon the ex- of Danish, Bohemian, Welsh, and other tent to which the German, French, nationalities, the purpose of each of Russian, Italian, English characters which is to keep alive among its memhave been erased and American traits bers and their children the memory of developed in their place. It is meas- their native land, its history, language, ured by their unconscious recognition art, and literature, and a just pride in of the claims of family relations in the their ancestry; but it is among the Gerold country, the claims of the church man-Americans preëminently that sowhich for centuries has exercised do- cieties are being formed to promote in this country the interests of their fa- ritorial boundaries and upon the high therland, and to intensify and perpet- seas and in uncivilized places where uate the sense of an undying fidelity there is no law adequate to punishment to it. The invincibility of the German of crime; it is an assertion of crimiinstinct is one of the chief proofs of nal jurisdiction within the boundaries the depth and strength of the German of other independent sovereignties. character. But the feeling is strong in Speaking broadly, this pretension is varying degrees among our natural- denied in the United States, and all ized citizens of many European nation- right to so extensive a jurisdiction is alities.

denied here. The intensity of this feeling among The position of the United States is their subjects at home is the might- briefly stated: the penal laws of a couniest factor in the strength of most of try have no extra-territorial effect. Juthe states now at war; it is the source risdiction is founded upon the idea that of that indomitable fortitude which

every state is supreme within its terriplaces every drop of blood and every torial boundaries, and the correlative dollar at the disposal of the state. But doctrine that beyond those boundaries it is precisely this sense of indelible its penal laws have no force. Hence, if allegiance among our citizens of foreign an American citizen should murder birth, this recognition of an allegiance another American citizen while travelwhich survives naturalization, that is ing in Europe, he could be punished one of the most alarming sources of by the government of the country weakness in our own country.

where the crime was committed; but if it should for any reason neglect to proceed against him, he could not be

punished upon his return home. Porter A state's claim to the obedience of Charlton, who has been convicted in its subjects after their naturalization the Italian courts of murdering his in a foreign country goes only one step wife, returned to America after the beyond the claim, made by nearly all crime and was sent back to Italy upon countries, of criminal jurisdiction over request of the Italian government, nottheir subjects wherever in the world withstanding the fact that that govthey may happen to be. The United

ernment would not have surrendered States, almost alone among the nations, an Italian subject upon the request disclaims any right to punish American of the United States in a similar case. citizens for crimes committed within But if Italy had not demanded him, or the dominions of other independent if the government of the United States states. This right of a state, in the exer- had refused to extradite him, there is cise of its sovereignty, to take jurisdic- no law in the United States under tion of crimes of its subjects committed which he could be tried here. in foreign countries, and to inflict such This disclaimer by the United States punishment as it may think fit, is quite of extra-territorial jurisdiction over its generally recognized; some states even citizens is not an element of weakness, go to the length, in certain cases, of as- because comparatively few Americans serting the right to punish the subjects permanently emigrate to foreign counof other countries for crimes committed tries, and fewer still become naturalabroad against its own subjects. This ized there. But the steadfast assertion is an assertion of criminal jurisdiction of such jurisdiction by foreign governby a state, not only within its own ter- ments over their subjects domiciled VOL. 117 - NO. 2

II

here has a very marked effect in de- feit their rights of inheritance, perselaying the process of Americanization, cute their relatives, - or exactly what and in weakening the sense of Amer- steps it would take to punish them, ican citizenship even after naturaliza- - is not disclosed. Once guilty of tion here. If an Austrian knows that such a crime, it is clear that no subwhile residing in Ohio, he may, by sequent naturalization in this country working in a factory, commit a crime could save them from the appropriate against the laws of Austria for which penalties. he

may be executed if he should ever The following advertisement is said return to his native land, or for which to have been published in many Austrohis inheritance there will be forfeited Hungarian newspapers in the United even if he never returns, he is made to States: ‘The Imperial and Royal Ausrealize very vividly the ties that bind tro-Hungarian Embassy, acting under him to the fatherland. The act may orders from the home government, be perfectly innocent in the United gives notice by this announcement to States, but treasonable in the eyes of all Austrian and Hungarian citizens, Austrian law. After committing such including the men from Bosnia and a crime, should he go through the sol- Herzegovina, in conformity with Paraemn rite of naturalization, and there- graph 327 of the Austrian Military by become theoretically 'entitled to Criminal Law, that all workmen who the protection of his adopted country, are employed in factories in this counthe knowledge that the United States try which are making either arms or neither can nor will try to protect ammunition for the enemies of your him must sadly weaken the force of country are guilty of a crime against his new allegiance.

the military safety of your fatherland. The newspapers on September 26 This crime is punishable by from ten printed an account of the proceedings to twenty years' imprisonment and, in at Youngstown, Ohio, in which one Cie- especially aggravating circumstances, pelowski, an Austrian subject, was by the penalty of death. Against those brought into a court to answer ques

who violate this order, the whole force tions propounded to him at the in- of the law will be invoked in the event stance of the Austrian government, re- of their return hereafter to their own garding alleged treasonable utterances country.'

. here. It was stated that he refused to In the case of the more ignorant foranswer the questions, and proposed to eigners, imbued with a deep sense of resist any attempt to extradite him to the ability and willingness of their naAustria, and that the depositions taken tive country to punish relentlessly any were to be forwarded to the Austrian · violation of its laws, even when comconsul at Cleveland. The Dumba in- mitted in this country, it is not likely cident clearly showed the purpose of that the ceremony of naturalization, the Austrian government to notify its whose significance is but feebly grasped subjects working in American muni- and whose legal effect is at the best tions factories that such acts would obscure and doubtful, can emancipate be considered as treason, and would them from the dominion of a sovereignrender them liable to prosecution in ty which claims the right to follow Austria. Whether that government them to the ends of the earth. would try them in their absence, find Lately a number of applicants for them guilty, confiscate any property citizenship in the courts at Minneapolis of theirs which could be found, for- were examined by an officer of the United States Naturalization Bureau. convicted, and executed men for murHe put to each of them this question: ders committed in foreign countries I have been told that Germany and in Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and elsesome of the other nations of Europe where. There is nothing surprising in have passed laws permitting their na- a state's assertion of the right to puntive-born to enlist in their armies and ish its own subjects for treason or othenjoy all the privileges of full citizen- er crimes striking directly at the safety ship even though such native-born may of the state, though committed withbe naturalized citizens of the United in the jurisdiction of a foreign power. States. I have also been told that there Nearly every country punishes such are laws in those countries aiming to crimes if the offender can be caught, no affect the actions of the native-born matter where they were committed. even while they are in the United In a few countries the right is claimed States, and aiming also to hold them to to punish the subjects of foreign states observance of the laws of the European for ordinary crimes committed abroad, countries. Now I want to know, if such if the victims are the subjects of the laws exist, whether you intend to obey punishing state; but most European them or be governed by them in any countries disclaim so extensive a jurisway?' The applicants are said to have diction. No self-respecting governanswered that they would pay no at- ment could tolerate the prosecution tention to any such laws, and all said of its own citizens in the courts of a forthat they did not know that the laws eign country for a crime alleged to have had been passed.

been committed at home. It would They were also asked: “You may amount to an invasion of the territorial some time be called upon to pass the sovereignty, and very few countries supreme test of citizenship and loy- would at the present day venture upon alty; you may be asked to bear arms so offensive a course unless prepared against the land of your birth. Will to affront the country whose citizens you do it if you are called?' And were endangered by it. There are such they answered that they would take laws in Russia and Greece, and such up arms against their native land if jurisdiction is provided for to a limcalled.

ited extent in Norway, Sweden, AusThose promises may or may not have tria, and Italy; but cases involving been sincere; the questions may or may the question must be of very rare ocnot have been clearly understood. The currence. But many foreign nations applicants may believe to-day that

would punish American citizens for they would fight against their native acts injurious to the safety of the forland if called upon; but when the cru- eign state, though they were commitcial time comes, and the summons of ted here and the citizens were innocent his adopted country sounds in his ears under our laws; and it is very certain while the call of his ancestral country that they would punish their own subrings in his heart, nobody knows which jects, though raturalized in the United call the German-American will answer. States, for such offenses committed be

This assertion by European states of fore naturalization; that is, they would jurisdiction to punish crimes commit- not admit that naturalization could ted by their subjects abroad, though purge the crime, any more than it could recently brought home to us and hav- relieve the immigrant of the obligation ing a sound of novelty, is not new. The to perform military service to which English courts have repeatedly tried, he became liable before he left his na

« PreviousContinue »