Guide to the United States

from the 1916 book of the same name by John Foster Carr

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As is well known, passports cannot at present be issued to Jews giving them the right of entering Russia. Though few other countries now require passports, yet it is important for the American traveling in Europe to be provided with one. It is useful for identification in case of falling under police suspicion, as well as for procuring your registered letters at a post office, which otherwise is sometimes difficult. A passport will also often obtain admittance in European cities to museums, and similar sight-seeing places on days when they are closed to the general public.

Jews, who are naturalized American citizens and wish to go abroad, and desire to be furnished with a passport, should make the request for it to "The Passport Division, Washington, D. C.", accompanying their request with their naturalization papers and one dollar. To those who are subjects of Germany or Austria, and who wish a German or Austrian passport, the German or Austrian consuls in the different cities in the United States issue consular passports. These confer the same powers and privileges as the passports that are issued by the competent authority in Europe.

Preserve with the greatest care the passports, and all legal documents, that you bring with you to America. They are not needed for the police requirements that make them a necessity in many countries of Europe. But they are often very important for purposes of identification, proof of name and the ages of children, as well as for the inheritance of property. Their loss often causes the immigrant great trouble and expense.



Since 1880 More Than Twenty-two Million Immigrants Have Entered
the United States. Most of Them Have Passed by This Statue.


BEWARE of swindling expressmen, cabmen, guides, agents of steamships and hotels, solicitors, porters, men who say they are journalists or lawyers. BEWARE of loan sharks and usurers.

BEWARE OF NOTARIES-- The duty of a notary in the United States is almost confined to that of witnessing signatures to legal documents. It requires no legal education whatever. Many notaries are ignorant men, and do not know how to draw up the documents that pass through their offices to be witnessed.

BEWARE of people whose friendship is too easily made. Swindlers abound on ship and ashore. Do not trust strangers who offer to change your money for you, to buy your ticket, or to put your property together with theirs. Appearances are often deceptive. Do not carry your money with you. Deposit it in a savings bank. Trust none of those who crowd around you on your first arrival, and declare themselves your protectors, friends. Those who call themselves bankers are often adventurers. Ask in New York how many Jews have lost money in such ways.

GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN SHOULD BEWARE of strange men who offer them well-paid positions or who propose marriage to them. They should know the character and position of men who insist upon having money as a condition of marriage. Such men are often swindlers, take the money and disappear.

MOTHERS! The home should be made a happy place to which the young people will bring their friends. Encourage your daughter to introduce to you all her men friends. Win her confidence by sympathy with her desire for proper amusement and pretty clothes. Do not prevent her attending dances held in respectable halls, but insist upon her returning home early. Be sure you know the conditions of your daughter's employment. See that it is suited to her ability and taste. Do not take your children to Court for commitment to an institution. Learn English so that you may understand American customs and be more helpful to your children.

BE CAREFUL in making and accepting change until you know good money from counterfeit, and until you can count American money easily.

BEWARE of mining companies and real estate agents that advertise in the newspapers.

Never buy steamship tickets. on the installment plan.

Workmen should not invent in speculative enterprises. They should put their money in a savings bank. A workingman's money is precious. It has been earned by the sweat of his brow.

Once again I say: If you are ill never go to a medical institute, and do not trust doctors whom you do not see. If you have an accident happen to you while you are at work, go at once to find an honest lawyer.

Be particular about your appearance. Look out for your personal cleanliness and that of your family. Dress well and eat better.

A Jew, like any other foreigner, is appreciated when he lives the American social life. Until then he counts for nothing. Try to adapt yourself to the manners, and customs, and habits of the American people. Have your name placed on the roll of the league or union of your trade. Labor unions are a necessity for most kinds of labor, yet each man has the right to decide for himself whether he shall join the union.

Give up all prejudices, and remember that all workmen are brothers, it matters not in what nation of the world they were born. So, indeed, are all men brothers. When their interests are opposed, reason better than passion will secure justice.

Become an American citizen as soon as you can. It is an excellent thing for a Jew to join a military company, a regiment of the National Guard. There is no conscription in the United States. Military service is entirely voluntary, and is for a short term. Its duties are chiefly confined to the evenings, cost little and take little time. Membership gives social advantages, and the opportunity of healthful exercise in athletic games and drills is very important to a man who lives in a great city. This service also makes the Jew better understood and appreciated by Americans.

Be proud of your race, your birth and your family, a Jew is all the better an American for being a good Jew. Never change your name except when absolutely necessary to simplify it for English pronunciation. When you do change your name, be sure you have proper legal authority for doing so.

The immigrant's best chance is not in New York. It is in the interior. And not until you know the interior can you know much of true American democracy and the political success of the Republic. Do not judge America by conditions in New York City. Wait and know before judging. Then become a citizen and help us make conditions better.

Thus you will be respected, welcomed in America. America is called "The Land of Freedom." That means that a man here is free to worship God as he pleases, but he must respect the right of others to worship God as they please. He is free to earn his living in the way he likes best, but not in a way that will hurt other people's health, comfort or morals, and not in a way that will prevent them from earning their living as they like best. He is free to have and to use property, but not in such a way as to interfere with equally free use by others of their property. He is free to be happy, but not to interfere with the happiness of others.

American Freedom gives us precious rights for which humanity has been struggling through the centuries. But only those are worthy of those rights, who realize that it imposes upon us equally great duties. That is what American Democracy means: Duties with Rights! And the first duty of American citizenship is obedience to the law.








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