Citizenship - History

Citizenship - History

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Dual Citizenship History

Globalisation and immigration are reshaping everything. The importance of dual citizenship has risen since the 1990s to high level of immigration with a possibility to pursue economic opportunities.

Dual Nationality (or Plural citizenship) is currently tolerated worldwide with a friendlier approach by over by 70% countries with the current world population heading towards 8 billion people.

Dual citizenship was legalized much earlier by many European countries which was followed later by Canada and United States

  • United Kingdom (1948),
  • France (1973),
  • Canada (1976).
  • United States (1990)
  • Italy (1912)

The Dual citizenship acceptance has progressed faster in the Americas and Oceania and slower in Africa and Asia. By 2019, however, 75% of countries maintain a more tolerant approach towards dual citizenship and allow citizens to voluntarily acquire the citizenship of another country, without automatic repercussions for the citizenship of origin.

Let us take a look at the history of dual citizenship in some important countries.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom legalized dual citizenship in 1948.

Prior to 1870, British subjects could not divest themselves of their nationality in any circumstances.

However, in addition to introducing provision for renunciation of British subject status, the Naturalization Act 1870 provided that British subjects would be deemed to have lost that status automatically if they voluntarily naturalized in a foreign country.

If a foreign man was married to a British subject at that time, his wife would be deemed to have acquired his new nationality – whether or not she had – and as a result, many women effectively became stateless. The same applied, potentially, to his children who were resident in that foreign country.

Below is the timeline for important events related to dual nationality in the UK.

The British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914 retained the concept of loss of British subject status by naturalization in a foreign country and, initially, the 1870 Act provisions relating to the status of wives. However, the British Nationality Act 1933, passed as a result of the 1930 Hague Convention, provided retrospectively that:

• A woman who married a foreign national would not lose British subject status unless she automatically acquired her husband’s nationality as a result of the marriage

• Where her husband naturalized as a foreign national during the marriage, she could make a declaration of retention of British nationality

As regards minors, the position was similar, although rather more complicated. The British Nationality Act 1922, however, provided that children who held another nationality would lose British subject status unless, on attaining majority (i.e. age 21), they declared a desire to remain British and, if possible, renounced the other nationality. The “renunciation” element was repealed by the British Nationality Act 1943, which also provided for the acceptance of “late” declarations of retention (as a result, children could be deemed to have retained British nationality by making a declaration under the 1943 Act even if they had lost it under the 1922 Act).

The British Nationality Act 1948 removed restrictions on dual nationality, largely for the following reasons:

• Dual nationality was not thought to be so undesirable, since most practical problems were avoided by the Master Nationality Rule (see below)

• The majority of cases of dual nationality were caused by the conflict of laws rather than by naturalisation abroad

• There had been difficulties administering the 1914 Act provisions: it was not always clear whether a person had acquired a foreign nationality voluntarily by naturalisation, it often involved the interpretation of obscure foreign law, and there were anomalies

• The policy of allowing British nationality to be retained was felt to be justified by the loyalty shown during the Second World War by the large British communities abroad with dual nationality

Diplomatic Protection

The UK Government normally extends diplomatic protection to British nationals outside the UK. However, Article 4 of the Hague Convention on Certain Questions relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws, 1930 provides that “a State may not afford diplomatic protection to one of its nationals against a state whose nationality such person also possesses

Master Nationality Rule

Known as the “Master Nationality Rule”, the practical effect of this Article is that where a person is a national of, for example, two States (A and B), and is in the territory of State A, then State B has no right to claim that person as its national or to intervene on that person’s behalf. Such a person who goes into the territory of a third state may be treated as a national of either A or B – it does not normally matter which one, except, for example, where the courts of the third state have to adjudicate upon matters relating to that person’s status and the relevant laws depend on the person’s nationality. In such cases, it is necessary to choose an effective nationality (i.e. one of the two nationalities is selected as effective for the purposes of the third state).


The status of “Canadian citizen” was first created under the Immigration Act, 1910which included anyone who was:

  1. a person born in Canada who had not become an alien
  2. a British subject possessing Canadian domicile and
  3. a person naturalized under the laws of Canada who had not subsequently become an alien or lost Canadian domicile.

Canada restricted dual citizenship between 1947 and 1977, there were some situations where Canadians could nevertheless legally possess another citizenship. For example, migrants becoming Canadian citizens were not asked to formally prove that they had ceased to hold the nationality of their former country. Similarly children born in Canada to non-Canadian parents were not under any obligation to renounce a foreign citizenship they had acquired by descent. Holding a foreign passport did not in itself cause loss of Canadian citizenship.

Citizenship law was reformed by the Citizenship Act, 1976 (popularly known as the 1977 Act), which came into force on 15 February 1977. Canada removed restrictions on dual citizenship, and many of the provisions to acquire or lose Canadian citizenship that existed under the 1947 Act were repealed.


French nationality and citizenship were concepts that existed even before the French Revolution in 1789.

The 1804 French Civil Code, which allowed the possibility of naturalization. In 1851 legislation allowed third generation immigrants (those with one parent born on French soil) were allowed to naturalize. Further 1889 amendments allowed second generation immigrants (those born on French soil) were allowed to naturalize once they reached the age of majority.

Dual citizenship was officially recognized for both men and women on 9 January 1973 since then, possession of more than one nationality does not affect French nationality


Dual citizenship is permitted for all Spaniards by origin, as long as they declare their will to retain Spanish nationality within three years of the acquisition of another nationality. This requirement is waived for the acquisition of the nationality of an Iberoamerican country, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal, and any other country that Spain may sign a bilateral agreement with.

Foreign nationals who acquire Spanish nationality must renounce their previous nationality, unless they are natural-born citizens of an Iberoamerican country, Andorra, the Philippines or Equatorial Guinea.

Since October 2002, dual citizens of Spain and another country who are born outside Spain to a Spanish citizen parent born outside Spain must declare to conserve their Spanish nationality between ages 18 and 21

Please refer to official publication on dual citizenship by European commission.


Dual citizenship under law no. 555 of 1912 was of central importance for the italian diaspora in many countries, as it relates to the holding of Italian citizenship alongside another citizenship, is article 7 of law number 555 of 1912. The provisions of this article gave immunity to some living Italian children from the citizenship events of their fathers.

According to Italian law, multiple citizenship is explicitly permitted under certain conditions if acquired on or after 16 August 1992 (Prior to that date, Italian citizens with jus soli citizenship elsewhere could keep their dual citizenship perpetually, but Italian citizenship was generally lost if a new citizenship was acquired, and the possibility of its loss through a new citizenship acquisition was subject to some exceptions

United States

The Recognition of dual citizenship in the United States, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not define dual citizenship or take a position for or against it.

During the Wars, Americans who maintained a second nationality, legislation in 1940 and 1952 made it almost impossible to actively maintain another nationality without forfeiting one’s U.S. citizenship.

In 1978, Congress eliminated residency requirements and the policy of terminating the citizenship of birthright dual nationals who lived in their second country of nationality for more than three years. In 1990, the State Department reversed its former policies toward a far friendlier approach to dual citizenship.


Before 1949, there was no legal concept of Australian citizenship. Every Australian was a British subject, including immigrants who arrived and became naturalised.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Australian citizens still had to declare their nationality as British. In 1984, the law was changed and Australian citizens were no longer British subjects.

The legal status of Australian nationality or Australian citizenship was created by the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948. The first australian citizenship ceremony in 1949

In 2002, Australia adopted dual citizenship provisions allowing new migrants to have their heritage reflected officially. Later in 2007, a citizenship test for prospective new citizens to obtain the knowledge they would need to successfully integrate into Australian society, before taking the final step at a citizenship ceremony.

Latin America

In the 1990s, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Brazil passed dual citizenship laws granting their expatriates the right to naturalize in the receiving country without losing their nationality of origin

Latin America granted dual nationality in the 1990s relaxing rules following US :

  • Colombia made this change in 1991 the
  • Dominican Republic, in 1994
  • Costa Rica and Ecuador, in 1995
  • Brazil in 1996.


In Switzerland, there is no restriction on multiple citizenship in Switzerland since 1 January 1992, according to Federal office of migration. An estimated 60% of Swiss nationals living abroad in 1998 were multiple citizens. A latest survey in 2019 indicated, 65% obtained through naturalization and only 35% by birth.

Swiss nationality law permits multiple citizenship, a Swiss national who also holds another country’s citizenship may be required to renounce a citizenship, if that foreign country’s nationality law forbids such multiple citizenship.


Turkey’s citizenship policies have been a response to the population movements to and from the country since the 1960s. Turkish nationality law has not taken a consistent approach to multiple citizenship since the Turkish

Nationality Act came into force in 1964. Sometimes a pro-dual citizenship approach was followed by the Turkey for the aliens who wanted to acquire Turkish citizenship, whereas an anti-dual citizenship approach was adopted for Turkish citizens who wanted to acquire the nationality of another state. Policies with regards to multiple citizenship for Turkish citizens changed in early 1980s in response to dual nationality demands coming from the Turkish migrant community living in the Western European Countries. The Turkish Nationality Act was amended to remove these obstacles on dual nationality for Turkish citizens in 1981.

Turkish law has encouraged dual citizenship since 1981 when the Turkish Nationality Act was amended for that purpose. As a result of the amendment, a Turkish citizen can request the nationality of another state without surrendering his or her Turkish citizenship (TVK Arts 21-22). The only condition for dual citizenship is to obtain permission of the Ministry of Interior (TVK Art 22 (3)).


In general, the citizenship of towns offered several kinds of benefits. Only citizens could hold municipal office and perhaps engage in lucrative urban trades. They enjoyed the privilege of being tried in a local court by their peers and were usually entitled to reduced taxes. Citizenship was commonly restricted to the propertied elite. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Geneva, for example, was divided into an inner core of "citizens" and "bourgeois" who exercised full urban rights, and a wider tier of "inhabitants" and "natives," who had the right to live in the city but not to participate in the most profitable professions or hold municipal office.

The actual type and worth of rights conferred by urban citizenship varied by town. In Zurich and London citizenship was not prerequisite for access to the guilds. In fact, guild membership could be a way to acquire citizenship. In sixteenth-century Antwerp, it was not uncommon for members of the city council to register for citizenship just before taking office. In some cases, acquisition of citizenship was turned into a routine commercial transaction. In theory, the laws of sixteenth-century Bologna made it difficult for naturalized citizens to hold municipal office. In reality, citizens selected for office frequently designated a substitute to fill the post, a practice that amounted to a form of office selling. Nonetheless, urban citizenship might offer important advantages to its members. Citizens of Antwerp (poorters), for example, could not be arrested without cause and were exempt from torture. This was of little concern until the 1540s when the number of registrations for citizenship in Antwerp suddenly jumped. At that time, the town council began to use Antwerp's citizenship rights to protect persecuted Protestants.

Citizenship entailed responsibilities as well as rights. Citizens might be required to serve in the urban militia and to pay local taxes supporting the cost of communal self-government and fortifications. The status of citizen was usually inherited, but it could also be acquired by foreigners. Usually, naturalization required establishing a residence within the city for an extended period of time, paying specified taxes, and taking on other obligations of urban membership. Frequently, citizenship was associated with social and moral qualities. Many central European cities refused citizenship to adulterers and bastards.

Citizenship first became the object of more systematic theoretical reflection in self-governing Italian city-states during the early Renaissance. The recovery of Aristotle and other classical authors, combined with the struggle of Italian city-states to assert their independence from emperors and foreign invaders, stimulated thinkers to clarify the basis of political community. One important strand drew on the work of Bartolus of Sassoferato and his pupil, Baldus de Ubaldis, the most influential jurists working in the Roman law tradition. They provided the first philosophical foundation for viewing the city-state as a fully independent, self-governing corporation of citizens.

A second important tradition drew on Florentine civic humanism. Humanists argued that the best form of government was elective, not monarchical, since elected rulers would best work to achieve the goals of the republic: to attain glory, sustain liberty, and preserve the common good. The civic humanist tradition culminated in the Discourses of Niccol ò Machiavelli, who wrote in a period of tumult following the French invasion of Italy in 1494. Looking back to the tradition of the Roman Republic, Machiavelli urged his fellow citizens to prevent decline by practicing virt ù . For Machiavelli, virt ù meant the patriotic love of the republic that led citizens to place the welfare of the political community above individual interests. Good laws and institutions were also necessary to sustain virt ù . Among the latter, the most important were civil religion to foster a spirit of unity and a citizen militia to encourage a spirit of self-sacrifice and bravery.

FACT CHECK: Has Citizenship Been A Standard Census Question?

The 1950 census form asked where respondents were born and whether they were naturalized.

Updated on March 28 at 12:30 p.m.

After a controversial decision by the Department of Commerce to add a question about U.S. citizenship to the 2020 census, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the move as nothing out of the ordinary.


Trump Expected To Renew Push For Census Citizenship Question With Executive Action

The claim

"This is a question that's been included in every census since 1965," Sanders said Tuesday, "with the exception of 2010, when it was removed."

The short answer

This statement is inaccurate, incomplete and misleading. A quick history of the decennial survey makes that clear.

The Two-Way

2020 Census Will Ask About Respondents' Citizenship Status


Adding Citizenship Question Risks 'Bad Count' For 2020 Census, Experts Warn

The long answer

The census has been conducted every decade since 1790 to get a national head count used most critically to decide the distribution of congressional representation. At first it was conducted by U.S. marshals, but later surveys were sent to most American households, with census workers helping those who didn't promptly return their surveys.

The last time a citizenship question was among the census questions for all U.S. households was in 1950. That form asked where each person was born and in a follow-up question asked, "If foreign born — Is he naturalized?"

In 1960, there was no such question about citizenship, only about place of birth.

In 1960, the census asked respondents what country they were born in but not whether they were naturalized citizens. by NPR hide caption

In 1960, the census asked respondents what country they were born in but not whether they were naturalized citizens.

Sanders mentioned the year 1965 on Tuesday, but the census only comes every 10 years, so it isn't clear what she was referring to, and the White House did not respond to a request for clarification.

In 1970, the Census Bureau began sending around two questionnaires: a short-form questionnaire to gather basic population information and a long form that asked detailed questions about everything from household income to plumbing. The short form went to most households in America. The long form was sent to a much smaller sample of households, 1 in 6. Most people didn't get it.

Starting in 1970, questions about citizenship were included in the long-form questionnaire but not the short form. For instance, in 2000, those who received the long form were asked, "Is this person a CITIZEN of the United States?"

The 2000 long-form survey, sent to a subset of Americans, asked about citizenship. The more widely distributed census short form that year did not. by NPR hide caption

The 2000 long-form survey, sent to a subset of Americans, asked about citizenship. The more widely distributed census short form that year did not.

The short form kept it simple: name, relationship, age, sex, Hispanic origin, race, marital status and whether the home is owned or rented.

The 2000 census short form asked about race but not citizenship, which the long form that year did ask about. by NPR hide caption

The 2000 census short form asked about race but not citizenship, which the long form that year did ask about.

Later, the census added the American Community Survey, conducted every year and sent to 3.5 million households. It began being fully implemented in 2005. It asks many of the same questions as the census long-form surveys from 1970 to 2000, including the citizenship question.

Sanders said that in 2010 the citizenship question was removed. In fact, there was no long form that year — it had been replaced by the annual American Community Survey. The decennial census form asked just 10 questions.


2020 Census Will Ask Black People About Their Exact Origins


2020 Census To Count Deployed Troops At Home Bases, Prisoners At Facilities

The state of California has already sued to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, and New York's state attorney general has announced plans for a multistate lawsuit. The concern expressed by states with large undocumented immigrant populations is that asking about citizenship will scare people off, forms won't get filled out and the count won't be accurate, affecting federal funding and the number of congressional seats. (The Census Bureau is legally required to keep answers confidential, even from the FBI and other government entities. That means it isn't allowed to release data identifying an individual. But federal agencies and researchers can request census information on specific population groups.)


2020 Census To Keep Racial, Ethnic Categories Used In 2010

In a memo explaining his reasoning, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dismissed concerns about incentive to participate.

"The Department of Commerce is not able to determine definitively how inclusion of a citizenship question on the decennial census will impact responsiveness. However, even if there is some impact on responses, the value of more complete and accurate data derived from surveying the entire population outweighs such concerns. Completing and returning decennial census questionnaires is required by Federal law, those responses are protected by law, and inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census will provide more complete information for those who respond," Ross wrote.

But if the 2020 census form does ultimately ask about citizenship status, it will be the first time the U.S. census has directly asked for the citizenship status of every person living in every household.

Clarification March 28, 2018

An earlier version of this story stated that the American Community Survey began in the 1990s. In fact, the survey moved from the developmental stage to full implementation in 2005.


Beginning with a brief historical overview of the idea of citizenship, this seminar examines citizenship’s changing meanings in the United States. How have ideals and promises contrasted with realities? How have oppressed, marginalized, and disfranchised social groups organized and mobilized for more expansive and inclusive citizenship? What are the effects of concentrated political power and extreme economic inequality on the possibilities and prospects of social justice? On voters’ choices and rights? Topics will also include immigration, nationalism, consumerism, and international human rights. This discussion-based seminar draws upon a variety of source materials including primary documents, critical essays, media documentaries, music, visual arts, poetry, and internet resources. Students will apply the skills of critical analysis to interpreting and understanding historical social groups’ efforts to expand the meaning and substance of US citizenship. Given this crucial election year, the seminar will also discuss current political news in context of citizenship.

Refresh your browser and check this syllabus regularly for updates and changes.

Thursday, August 20: Introductions and Overview

Introducing the Scholarblogs syllabus site and the Canvas Assignments page.

For complimentary access to provided by Emory, visit: (although it’s free, it requires login with Emory ID and Password). Other useful, free, sites for this seminar : GovTrack, Politico, TalkingPoints Memo, 538, Pew Research Center, Roll Call, The Guardian, Axios, Borowitz Report

Citizenship in the News. A regular feature of the seminar. In-class discussion of current news reporting and commentary about citizenship.
Read: Michael Wines, “The Student Vote Is Surging. So Are Efforts To Suppress It.” (2019) NY Times
Emory Path to the Polls website. If you are a US citizen, what are the voter registration dates and requirements for the place where you intend to vote? Everything you need to vote this year.

Tuesday, August 25: “Citizenship” as a constantly changing concept

Be prepared to discuss in class: how concepts of citizenship emerged across time and geography and 2) the significance of present-day voter registration activism and attempts to suppress voting.

Citizenship in the News.
Visit the Pew Research Center for social science research on current public attitudes about such topics as religious affiliation, gun laws, voting rights, etc.
John Gramlich, “What Makes a Good Citizen?” (2019) Pew Research Center
Visit the Fair Fight website
“Lebron James Launches Push for Poll Workers” (2020)

WRITING ASSIGNMENT: By 10:30 a.m. on Aug 25, write and post a 250-300 word commentary in which you reflect on any previous classes (from elementary school to the present) you have taken that dealt with citizenship, movements for social justice, or “civics.” Post your reflection on Canvas, then read and comment on two of your classmates’ posts.

Thursday, August 27: Meanings of Citizenship in the US

Reading: Linda Kerber, “The Meanings of Citizenship,” (1997)
( Free Access: Login Through Emory Library). You will be asked for your Emory ID and Password.

Write 250 to 300 words summarizing Kerber’s essay. Submit this on the Canvas Assignment page by 12:30 pm, Aug 27. Be prepared to discuss in class.

Tuesday, September 1: Creating the Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. —Preamble to the US Constitution

Read: Jill Lepore, “The Constitution of a Nation.” (2018). Available on e-reserves.
You can access this chapter by logging in at and using “Access Online Reserves” to search by course number, instructor, etc.
Email Prof. Tullos if you have any difficulty finding the Lepore chapter.
allen [dot] tullos [at] emory [dot] edu

Writing: A 250-300 word summary of the assigned reading. Submit via Canvas Assignments page.
Recommended: Visit website: Visualizing the Transatlantic Slave Trade: 1500-1900.

Citizenship in the News. In-class discussion of current news reporting and commentary about citizenship.
“Will You Have Enough Time To Vote by Mail in Your State?”
“The Battleground States Biden and Trump Need to Win 270” (NY Times Interactive Map)

Thursday, September 3: Sovereignty, Citizenship, and Native Americans

Reading: Howard Zinn, “As Long as the Grass Grows Green” (2005)
Write 250-300 words summarizing the Zinn chapter.

Citizenship in the News:
Jose A. Del Real, “Cherokee Nation Seeks to Send First Delegate to Congress. (2019)
“Cherokee Art: Past, Present, and Future” online presentation by Jace Weaver, Prof. of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. Register now for this online zoom event which will be held Thursday, September 10 at 7:30 pm.

Tuesday, September 8: Sovereignty, Citizenship, and Native Americans

Write 250-300 words summarizing the main points of the Saunt lecture.

Recommended (not required) for further reading: Sarah H. Hill, “All Roads Led from Rome: Facing the History of Cherokee Expulsion” (2017).

Citizenship in the News:

Upcoming Event
“Cherokee Art: Past, Present, and Future” online presentation by Jace Weaver, Prof. of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. Register for this online zoom event scheduled for Thursday, September 10 at 7:30 pm .

Thursday, September 10: Justice, Citizenship, and Social Equality

Read: Iris Marion Young, “Five Faces of Oppression” (1990) (Course Reserves). You can access this chapter by logging in at
and using “Access Online Reserves” to search by course number, instructor, etc.
This chapter is also available at .

Email Prof. Tullos if you have any difficulty finding the Young chapter.
allen [dot] tullos [at] emory [dot] edu

Write 250-300 words summarizing the key points of Young ‘s chapter.

A goal of social justice . . . is social equality. Equality refers not primarily to the distribution of social goods . . . it refers primarily to the full participation and inclusion of everyone in a society’s major institutions, and the socially supportive substantive opportunity for all to develop and exercise their capacities and realize their choices. —Iris Marion Young

Citizenship in the News:

Perry Bacon, Jr., “The Latest on Republican Efforts to Make It Harder to Vote.” (2020)
Richard North Patterson, “America’s Suffocating Class System” (2018)
Reminder. Tonight: “Cherokee Art: Past, Present, and Future” online presentation by Jace Weaver, Prof. of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. Register for this online event scheduled Tonight, September 10 at 7:30 on zoom.

Tuesday, September 15: The Long Struggle for African American Citizenship

Write 250-300 words discussing the Douglass reading.

Thursday, September 17: African Americans and Citizenship

Write 250-300 word summary of Woodward’s article. Word count.

Tuesday, September 22: Citizens, Persons, People

Read: Jill Lepore, “Of Citizens, Persons, and People.” (2018). Available on e-reserves.
You can access this chapter by logging in at and using “Access Online Reserves” to search by course number, instructor, etc.
Email Prof. Tullos if you have any difficulty finding the Lepore chapter.

Write: 250-300 words summarizing Lepore’s chapter.

Thursday, September 24: Scenes from the 1960s’ Civil Rights Movement

Write: 250-300 word summary of Dr. King’s “Letter.”

Seminar visitor: Dr. Erica Bruchko, African American Studies and US History Librarian. Discussion of library tools that can be useful in researching your final paper.

Tuesday, September 29: Participatory Democracy and the Civil Rights Movement

Write 250-300 word summary for class discussion based on the “Bridge to Freedom” video.


Judy Richardson, former SNCC member and researcher and series associate producer for the series Eyes on the Prize talks about Ella Baker. (2012) (2 min)

Thursday, October 1: Music and 1960s’ Political Movements

“When the music changes, the walls of the city shake.” — Plato

Write: 250-300 words. Make a list of talking points for class discussion about how particular songs expressed attitudes and emotions of the civil rights and anti-war movements. Also consider which songs seem most suited for marching and protesting and which songs chiefly comment upon or evoke feelings about political topics.

ALSO due today: turn no more than 250 words on the Canvas Assignment page describing your proposed semester paper topic and some possible sources for your research.

John Coltrane “Alabama” (1963) Written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963, an attack by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four African-American girls.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’ “Eulogy” for the four girls killed in the 16th Street bombing. 1963.

Tuesday, October 6: In-class discussion of November elections.

Drawing on a published news source (or sources) write 250-300 words discussing some aspect of the upcoming elections that you find significant and would like to talk about. Be sure to cite your source(s).

Thursday, October 8: James Baldwin, “I Am Not Your Negro”

In-class discussion of documentary about James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro (93 min) (2016). Directed by Raoul Peck.
You may be asked for your Emory ID and Password for access to the documentary.

Prior to class: view I Am Not Your Negro and write a 250-300 word summary.

Tuesday, October 13: Two Scenes from the Women’s Rights Movement in the US

When I pass the gate of the celestials and good Peter asks me where I wish to sit, I will say, ‘Anywhere so that I am neither a negro or a woman. Confer on me, great angel, the glory of White manhood, so that henceforth I may feel unlimited freedom. — Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony (1859). (Quoted in Jill Lepore, These Truths, 314)

Linda Greenhouse, “Who Killed the ERA?” (New York Review of Books, Oct 12, 2017) Available as pdf in Emory course reserves for HIST 190-3.

Write a reflection: 250-300 words that identify parallels between the Seneca Falls convention and the movement for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Thursday, October 15: Immigration: Chinese Labor and Exclusion

I want a home here not only for the negro, the mulatto and the Latin races but I want the Asiatic to find a home here in the United States, and feel at home here, both for his sake and for ours. — Frederick Douglass, 1869. “Frederick Douglass Describes the ‘Composite Nation’.”

Read: Maxine Hong Kingston, “Grandfather of the Sierra Nevada” (1980), a chapter from her book China Men. (Course Reserves)
Read about China Men .

Write 250-300 word summary of Kingston chapter.

Tuesday, October 20: Recent History of Latin American Immigration

Prior to class: View Harvest of Empire and write a 350-400 word summary of the documentary in which you identify its main themes and make at least one mention of each of the countries represented.

Thursday, October 22: In-class discussion of November elections.

Drawing on a published news source (or sources) write 250-300 words discussing some aspect of the upcoming elections that you find significant and would like to talk about. Discussion of particular US senate races is especially welcome. Be sure to cite your source(s).

Tuesday, October 27: Current Immigration Policy and Politics

Write 250-300 words that reflect on the readings (Miroff & Dawsey, Belkin, and Goldberg). What can we learn from Miller’s biography about the formation of his immigration ideology and his tactics?

Thursday, October 29: The Stonewall Uprising and the Gay Rights Movement

View prior to class: The Stonewall Uprising. (2011). (1:20).

Write 250-300 words summary of this documentary film.

Tuesday, November 3: ELECTION DAY. No class meeting today, but turn in 250-300 words updating your semester project. (Topic, sources, progress.)

Thursday, November 5: Discussion of elections.

Drawing on a published news source (or sources) write 250-300 words discussing some aspect of yesterday’s election that you find significant and would like to talk about. Be sure to cite your source(s).

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, “End Minority Rule” (2020) NY Times

Tuesday, November 10: Bank Deregulation, Great Recession, Aftermath

View prior to class: Academy Award winning documentary Inside Job (2010). 1 hour and 48 minutes.
Available through Emory’s online resources. You may be asked for your Emory ID and Password. Please let Prof. Tullos know if you have any difficulty accessing the film.
Read about Inside Job

Write 250-300 words summary of Inside Job.

Thursday, November 12: Structural Inequality and Its Costs to Citizenship

Read: Joseph E. Stiglitz, “The American Economy Is Rigged and What We Can Do About It” Scientific American (Nov. 2018).
Write: 250-300 words summarizing the main points of Stiglitz for class discussion.

Citizenship in the News:
Paul Krugman, “Bursting the Billionaire Bubble,” (2019) NY Times

How to vote in the Georgia runoff elections: Emory Votes Initiative has created a new page of information in response to questions about Georgia’s December and January runoff elections, including information on voter registration:

Tuesday, November 17: Disability, Accessibility Rights, and Citizenship

Recommended: “Social Model of Disability” (Wikipedia). On the difference between impairment and disability.

Thursday, November 19: Campaigns, Inc. vs National Health Care

Read: Excerpts from Jill Lapore’s These Truths tracing the sequence of historical efforts to achieve national health care in the US and the persistent opposition by private medical associations and insurance companies through their use of public relations and advertising firms. Available on Course Reserves as pdf. (37pages) (You’ll have to rotate the pages numerous times to read them — sorry about that.)
Write 250-300 words summarizing Lapore’s narration of the politics of this health care history.
Recommended: Paul Krugman, “Doing the Health Care Two-Step” (2019) NY Times

Citizenship in the News:

Tuesday, November 24: No synchronous class session today. Violence/Non-Violence in Pursuit of Social Justice

Read: Judith Butler, “Protest: Violent and Nonviolent,” (2019). Available on Course Reserves.
Write 250-300 words commenting on Butler’s article.

Citizenship in the News:

Paper Deadline: Turn in final papers no later than Friday, December 11 at 2:00 pm

Naturalization Process in U.S.: Early History

The first naturalization act, passed by Congress on March 26, 1790 (1 Stat. 103), provided that any free, white, adult alien, male or female, who had resided within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States for a period of 2 years was eligible for citizenship. Under the act, any individual who desired to become a citizen was to apply to “any common law court of record, in any one of the states wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least.” Citizenship was granted to those who proved to the court’s satisfaction that they were of good moral character and who took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. Under the system established by the act, aliens could be naturalized not only in Federal courts, but also in State and local courts, and the children of successful applicants, if under 21 years of age, automatically became citizens.

The act of January 29, 1795 (1 Stat. 414) increased the period of residence required for citizenship from 2 to 5 years. It also required applicants to declare publicly their intention to become citizens of the United States and to renounce any allegiance to a foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty 3 years before admission as citizens. Immigrants who had “borne any hereditary title, or been of the order of nobility” were also required to renounce that status. These actions could be taken before the supreme, superior, district, or circuit court of any State or Territory, or before a Federal circuit or district court of the United States.

On April 14, 1802, Congress passed an act (2 Stat. 153) that directed the clerk of the court to record the entry of all aliens into the United States. The clerk collected information including the applicant’s name, birthplace, age, nation of allegiance, country of emigration, and place of intended settlement, and granted each applicant a certificate that could be exhibited to the court as evidence of time of arrival in the United States.

Certain doubts had arisen as to whether State and local courts were included within the description of U.S. district or circuit courts. The act of 1802 reaffirmed that every State and Territorial court was considered a district court within the meaning of the laws pertaining to naturalization, and that any persons naturalized in such courts were accorded the same rights and privileges as if they had been naturalized in a district or circuit court of the United States.

The act of 1802 was the last major piece of naturalization legislation during the 19th century. A number of minor revisions were introduced, but these merely altered or clarified details of evidence and certification without changing the basic nature of the admission procedure. The most important of these revisions occurred in 1855, when citizenship was automatically granted to alien wives of U.S. citizens (10 Stat. 604), and in 1870, when the naturalization process was opened to persons of African descent (16 Stat. 256).

On June 27, 1906, Congress passed an act (34 Stat. 596) that expanded the existing Immigration Bureau to the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and put it in charge of “all matters concerning the naturalization of aliens.” Although the new Bureau was part of the Department of Labor and Commerce initially, and part of the Department of Labor from 1913 to 1940, most of its operations were directed by the Department of Justice, and, in 1940, the Bureau was made part of the Justice Department. Under the act of 1906, every petition for naturalization became a case for examination by Bureau officials.

This act also established the basic procedure for naturalization during the period 1906-52. The procedure began with the filing of a declaration of intention, which recorded the applicant’s oath to the clerk of the court that it was his or her bona fide intention to become a citizen of the United States, to reside permanently therein, and to renounce all allegiances to other nations. Within a period of 2 to 7 years after filing the declaration, the applicant could petition the court for citizenship, presenting at this time the affidavits of two witnesses with personal knowledge of the applicant, stating that the applicant had resided in the United States for at least 5 years and possessed a good moral character. The petition then became the subject of an investigation and hearing before a judge. Officials of the Bureau conducted preliminary examinations and submitted findings and recommendations to the court. The hearing before a judge was the last step in the procedure, provided the judge found the findings and recommendation of naturalization officials favorable and satisfactory. If so, the applicant would take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and laws and renounce all foreign allegiances, and the judge would issue an order of admission to citizenship and grant the applicant a certificate of citizenship. However, a judge could also order a continuance of the investigation or deny the petition, listing the reasons for the denial. A major change in this procedure occurred in 1952, when the filing of the declaration of intention was eliminated.

On May 9, 1918, Congress passed an act (40 Stat. 542) stating that any alien who had been a member of the Armed Forces for 3 or more years could file a petition for naturalization without proof of the 5-year residency requirement, and that any applicant who had been in the service during World War I was exempt from the requirement to file a declaration of intention. This act consolidated the previous statutes of July 17, 1862 (12 Stat. 597), which allowed waiver of the filing of a declaration if the applicant had a favorable discharge from the Army, and of July 24, 1894 (28 Stat. 124), which extended this provision to applicants discharged from the Navy or the Marines.

On September 22, 1922, Congress enacted a law (42 Stat. 1021) that changed the naturalization procedure for married women. Before that date, women who were married to a U.S. citizen or naturalized citizen automatically became U.S. citizens by reason of the marriage. The new law required that any woman married after the date of enactment who desired to become a citizen must meet the requirements of the naturalization laws. No declaration of intention was needed, however, and the period of required residence was reduced from 5 years to 1 year.

Source: Rocky Mountain Regional National Archives and Records Administration

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Bolger, E. (2013). Background history of the United States naturalization process. Retrieved from

Resources related to this topic may be found in the Social Welfare History Image Portal.

Citizenship in History

Citizenship did not exist before the Civil War, William Novak tells us in "The Legal Transformation of Citizenship in the 19th Century." "Citizen" appears in the Constitution, but is more of a place marking word, like "thing." It did not, as it does now, mean that you have inviolable rights. Individual rights and obligations remained the product of local governments and courts. Though a definite boon for black Americans in particular, not having citizenship gave people more responsibility and hence more culturist sensibilities.

Rights were debated, with responsibilities, locally. Accepting you meant making you a part of society. Your pattern of residence, office, job, service, association, family position, age, and gender qualified you for different roles. But as master, servant, wife, parent and child, you had different duties to fulfill. But along side belonging to municipalities, you would be a member of many associations. Your church, college, dock workers, scientific society, water company were all institutions that regulated who was in and who was out too.

Municipality did not hesitate to prohibit nuisances, enforce practice eminent domain, tax what they considered to be bad things, and kick out whomever they pleased. At some level this seems like arbitrary tyranny to us. We partially see it this way because we are used to the idea of government being something outside of us. We do not volunteer for the DMV. But since most government was voluntary and extra legal, these decisions would not be made by groups you didn't have say in. When regular tax-paying citizens decided who got poor relief, public burial, the right to stay, and what got taught, the resentment of top-down imposition was not prevalent.

Novak does not seek to glorify this situation. His goal is to make us better historians. When we say that women were not allowed to vote because they were not full citizens, we are reading our view of citizenship back in time anachronistically. They did not get to vote because they were women. The difference is that the definition of woman is not contrasted with an absolute notion of decontextualized person. Slaves were not free because they were slaves. There was no totally unrestricted person to compare this status too. Everyone had a role, status and obligation to participate.

We, of course, appreciate our gains. But there is something unrealistic about no one having more expected of them or less opportunity. Much of self-government is derived from the ability to shun and make decisions. When the government says we do not need your participation and all will receive regardless of merit or legal status, our space for participation and discretion are diminished. To create cultural solidarity it would behoove us to demarcate the limits of our tolerance and involve as many as possible in directing local institutions. When you do not know about other paradigms, even within your own history and tradition, you lose the ability to conceive of options. Thanks to Mr. Novak for reminding us of these culturist options.

See 200 Years Of Twists And Turns Of Census Citizenship Questions

If the Trump administration gets its way, federal law will require this question to be asked of each person living in all of the country's households in 2020: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" It's been close to 70 years since a citizenship question has been included among the census questions for every U.S. household.

In fact, the U.S. census has never before directly asked for the citizenship status of every person living in every household.

The wording of the question the Trump administration wants to ask comes from a survey the Census Bureau began conducting annually in every county after the 2000 census with about 1 in 38 households — the American Community Survey, which has since replaced the census as the government's way of collecting citizenship information.

How the federal government has used the census in the past to ask about citizenship status has varied over the years. For decades, the census asked only about the citizenship status of people born outside the U.S. who were later naturalized, or became U.S. citizens.

From the first time in 1820 to the most recent in 2000, when only a small sample of households were asked, questions about citizenship on the census have had a history of stops and starts, twists and turns over 200 years.

Lesson Plan

Materials Needed:

-All laws regarding citizenship printed out on individual strips (names and short summaries)


1. Divide students into 6 groups. Have each group deliberate and create their “ideal citizen” using the graphic organizer as a guide (encourage students to create an image in any style they choose).

2. Have all the strips with laws and policies on them in a container. Each group will pick out eight strips.

Using those eight laws and policies, each group will once again draw an ideal citizen, but this time, according to the eight laws and policies they picked out of the container.

3. Each group will share out the comparisons between their two citizens.

Final Discussion:

As a whole class, compare and contrast the different citizens that each group created. Consider some of the following questions:

-What are some things that each group’s ideal citizen had in common?

-What are some of the ways that your idea of an ideal citizen was different from/similar to the citizen your group created based on immigration laws and policies?

-Why do you think there might be differences between the two?

-What do the possible differences reveal about us? society? the country?

Naturalization Records

In an effort to assist patrons seeking dual citizenship to understand what the National Archives can and cannot assist them with, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions.

Naturalization is the process by which an alien becomes an American citizen. It is a voluntary act naturalization is not required.

Prior to September 27, 1906, any "court of record" (municipal, county, state, or Federal) could grant United States citizenship. Often petitioners went to the court most geographically convenient for them. As a general rule, the National Archives does not have naturalization records created in state or local courts. However, a few indexes and records have been donated to the National Archives from counties, states, and local courts. Researchers should contact the National Archives facility serving the state in which the petitioner resided to determine if records from lower courts are available. In certain cases county court naturalization records maintained by the National Archives are available as microfilm publications. Records from state and local courts are often at state archives or historical societies.

Beginning September 27, 1906, US naturalization law imposed a fee structure that encouraged the transfer of naturalization to Federal courts. It took time for the lower courts to let go of the practice, so researchers may need to look at lower courts if the National Archives does not maintain a record of naturalization from the early-mid 20 th century.

In general, naturalization was a two-step process* that took a minimum of five years. After residing in the United States for two years, an alien could file a "declaration of intention" ("first papers") to become a citizen. After three additional years, the alien could "petition for naturalization" (”second papers”). After the petition was granted, a certificate of citizenship was issued to the new citizen. These two steps did not have to take place in the same court. [*Exceptions can include cases of derivative citizenship, processes for minor aliens 1824-1906, and special consideration for veterans.]

If a naturalization took place in a Federal court, naturalization indexes, declarations of intention (with any accompanying certificates of arrival), and petitions for naturalization will usually be in the National Archives facility serving the state in which the Federal court is located. No central index exists.

To ensure a successful request with the National Archives researchers should include:

  • name of petitioner (including known variants)
  • date of birth
  • approximate date of entry to the US
  • approximate date of naturalization
  • where the individual was residing at the time of naturalization (city/county/state)
  • and country of origin

In most cases, the National Archives will not have a copy of the certificate of citizenship. Two copies of the certificate were created – one given to the petitioner as proof of citizenship, and, after September 26, 1906, one forwarded to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Certificates of citizenship were issued by the Federal courts until October 1991 when naturalization became an administrative function under the INS.

All INS records are now overseen by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS maintains duplicate copies of court records (including the certificate of citizenship) created September 27, 1906-March 31, 1956 within Certificate Files (C-Files). Beginning April 1, 1956, INS began filing all naturalization records in a subject’s Alien File (A-File). C-Files and certain A-Files can be requested through the USCIS Genealogy Program. If you are a naturalized citizen seeking your own documentation, you can place a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to USCIS to obtain a copy of your A-File and/or request a replacement certificate of citizenship from USCIS.

  • Although there can be inaccuracies in naturalization records, the records cannot be changed or corrected by National Archives staff because they are historic documents that are maintained as they were created by the courts.
  • National Archives staff can only issue a certified copy of a document in our custody (see 44 USC 2116 and 44 USC 3112).
  • The National Archives does not have authority to issue an apostille. The US Department of State has the authorization to issue an apostille of a copy of a document certified by the National Archives.
  • The National Archives does not have the authority to issue a certification of non-existence of a record, and can only issue a negative search letter. Negative results for a search of National Archives holdings only indicates that a naturalization record was not found in the possession of the National Archives, not that it does not exist.
  • USCIS has exclusive authority over matters concerning citizenship records after 1906 and can provide a Certification of Non-Existence of a Record of Naturalization (see “About Further Research”).

Naturalization Quick Reference

  • No central index exists.
  • Naturalization records dated prior to October 1991 from the Federal courts are at the National Archives.
  • In most cases, the National Archives will not have a copy of the certificate of citizenship granted to a petitioner – our holdings normally include only the declaration of intention (with any accompanying certificate of arrival) and petition for naturalization.
  • Naturalization records from state or local courts are often at state archives or county historical societies.
  • Naturalization records dated October 1991 and after were created by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and are now with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Basic information needed for a successful naturalization request with the National Archives:
    • Name of individual (including known variants)
    • Date of birth
    • Approximate date of entry to the US
    • Approximate date of naturalization
    • Where the individual was residing at the time of naturalization (city/county/state)
    • Country of origin

    For More Information

      , an article in Prologue
  • "A Gold Mine of Naturalization Records in New England", by Walter V. Hickey
  • For more detailed information about naturalization laws and procedures, consult:

  • Kettner, James H. The Development of American Citizenship, 1608-1870 (Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1978).

    Newman, John J. American Naturalization Processes and Procedures, 1790-1985 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1985).

    Claire Prechtel-Kluskens, "The Location of Naturalization Records," The Record, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 21-22 (Nov. 1996).

    Schaefer, Christine. Guide to Naturalization Records of the United States (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1997).

    Sample Naturalization Records and Indexes

    Online Indexes and Finding Aids

    Please Note: If a name index is not available online, researchers should contact the National Archives facility serving the state in which the petitioner resided as many indexes exist only in the research room.

      , U.S. District and U.S. Circuit Courts, District of North Dakota

      , includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Dakota Territory, and South Dakota
      , includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin
      , includes Arizona, California, and Nevada
      , includes New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico

    Now you can order copies of naturalization records online through the OrderOnline system!

    Watch the video: . Citizenship - American History Free Class