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National Identity & Citizenship. HIS 206. Ideological Definition of National Identity. Republican ideology claims universal application Social contract theory Citizens’ rights emphasized Rhetoric contradicted by reality, however Egalitarian principles which define U.S. citizenship:

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National Identity & Citizenship


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    1. National Identity & Citizenship HIS 206

    2. Ideological Definition of National Identity • Republican ideology claims universal application • Social contract theory • Citizens’ rights emphasized • Rhetoric contradicted by reality, however • Egalitarian principles which define U.S. citizenship: • Assimilation – conforming to dominant culture • Asylum – welcoming refugees seeking political or religious liberty

    3. Assimilation • Traditional assumption that nations were bound by common language, religion & culture didn’t apply to U.S. • British heritage dominant, however • Michael-Guillaum Jean de Crevecoeur expressed confidence in melting pot in his Letters from an American Farmer(1782) • Assimilation eliminated differences • Celebrated “this great American asylum”

    4. Asylum • Willingness to be asylum dependent upon confidence in assimilation • Refugees had to assimilate • Noble ideal of providing asylum lent moral purpose to assimilation • Asylum helped distinguish New World from old, as Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense(1776) • Throughout first 100 years, confidence in assimilation remained high

    5. Citizenship • Ancient Greeks est. basis for modern idea of citizenship • Fused 2 concepts: • Notion of state having boundaries within which decisions are made about inhabitants’ lives • Notion of inhabitants participating in decision-making process as joint proprietors • Romans extended definition & scope of citizenship as empire expanded – finally made all free inhabitants citizens in 212 CE • Articles of Confederation (1777-1788) left citizenship & naturalization up to each state

    6. Naturalization • Constitution (1788 - ) gave Congress power over immigration & naturalization • Immigrants barred from Presidency, & residency requirements for House & Senate • Art. I, Sec. 8 allows Congress to est. uniform rule of naturalization • Art. I, Sec. 9 allows Congress to regulate immigration, with $10 limit on head tax • Naturalization Act of 1790 limited citizenship to “free white persons” of “good moral character” • Residency requirement: 2 years in country, 1 in state • Courts determined eligibility & administered oath of allegiance

    7. Making Naturalization More Difficult • Naturalization Act of 1795 raised residency requirement to 5 years & required declaration of intent to seek citizenship 3 years prior to naturalization • Naturalization Act of 1798 part of Alien & Sedition Acts – caused by Quasi-wartime hysteria • raised residency requirement to 14 years & forbade naturalization of enemy aliens • Alien Act gave President power to deport aliens who were “dangerous to the peace & safety of the United States” • Alien Enemy Act allows President to detain or deport enemy aliens in wartime • Naturalization Act of 1802 lowered residency requirement back to 5 years, but required sworn testimony of 2 witnesses

    8. Expanding Eligibility for Citizenship • 1855 act granted derivative citizenship to foreign-born wives & children of U.S. citizens • 1907 law stripped citizenship from women who married aliens • Repealed in 1922 in cases of marriage to Europeans, but not until 1931 in cases of marriage to Asians • 1870 Naturalization Act extended eligibility to “persons of African nativity and African descent” • 1906 Naturalization Act standardized process to eliminate fraud & competition between courts • Required filing of Declaration of Intent (‘first papers”) & then petition 2-7 years later • Created Bureau of Naturalization to complement Bureau of Imm. • Required knowledge of English language for the 1st time

    9. Tracking Resident Aliens 1940 Alien Registration Card Modern “Green Card” • Alien Registration Act (1940) required registration & finger-printing of all aliens over 14 years old • 1990 Immigration Act transferred exclusive jurisdiction to Attorney General • Lowered state residency requirement to 3 months • Created exceptions to English language requirement