>>> Item number 798, dated 94/09/12 09:13:40 -- ALL
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 1994 09:13:40 -0500 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: freedmen naturalizations
Does anyone have information on a relatively arcane issue of citizenship law? The 14th amendment declared all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. and subject to the jurisdiction thereof to be U.S. citizens. This provision has been assumed to have made citizens of all freedmen, and that was clearly its intent. But some freedmen were former slaves who were not born in the U.S. and who entered via the illegal but still flourishing international slave trade. They were not legally naturalized prior to the 14th amendment--so they apparently were neither born in the U.S. nor naturalized at the time of the 14th, and hence still not U.S. citizens after it. I've found no records, however, that this anomaly was ever addressed; it appears they were just presumed to be citizens anyway, without any rationale (such as slavery having worked a kind of naturalization). Is there anything on this topic I've missed? --Rogers Smith, Political Science, Yale University, email@example.com
>>> Item number 803, dated 94/09/12 13:47:01 -- ALL
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 1994 13:47:01 -0500 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: Chris Waldrep <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: freedmen naturalizations
During the course of my research on U. S. naturalization law, I don't recall any discussion of this question either. Requiring foreign-born former slaves to apply for naturalization certainly would have been another way to inhibit black suffrage. I assume you found nothing in the discussion surrounding passage of the Naturalization Act of July 14, 1870, that was helpful. I can suggest looking at one case I encountered, although I am not certain it will prove helpful. Broadis v. Broadis, 86 F. 951 (1898), involved the naturalization of an African woman through marriage to an American. I can't recall the details of the case, but I suspect the woman immigrated after the war and was never a slave. Still, you may find some references to other cases involving the naturalization of persons of African descent. Good luck.
>>> Item number 807, dated 94/09/14 07:10:21 -- ALL
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 1994 07:10:21 -0500 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: Chris Waldrep <email@example.com> Subject: Re: freedmen naturalizations
To add to the question put forward by Rogers Smith re: non-native born freedmen, I would like to ask if there was any formal process in the early to mid-nineteenth century whereby non-native born persons became "naturalized?" Rogers raises the point about non-native born slaves, and that question itself is an intriguing one, but if there were no formal process for whites during the same time, there probably would not be any problem for former slaves. However, I don't know whether there was any process for the 19th-century immigrants to go through to achieve citizenship status. I do know that there were restrictions on Chinese immigrants' becoming citizens, but don't know the same for European immigrants.
Steve Lowe [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Michigan State Univ.
>>> Item number 809, dated 94/09/14 15:03:28 -- ALL
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 1994 15:03:28 -0500 Reply-To: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> Sender: Legal History discussion list <H-LAW@UICVM.BITNET> From: Chris Waldrep <email@example.com> Subject: Re: freedmen naturalizations
In response to Steve Lowe's questions about 19th century naturalizations, there certainly were federal laws regulating naturalization from 1790 on; that statute restricted naturalization to whites, defined how long immigrants must reside in the U.S. before becoming eligible for citizenship, etc. Many federal naturalization statutes were passed thereafter in the 19th century; but naturalization was administered primarily by local courts, so particular procedures no doubt varied. There are many sources on this, but a good short introductory overview is Reed Ueda's article, "Naturalization and Citizenship," in the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. (Persons of African descent became eligible for naturalization in 1870. It's because naturalization records then remained local that it's hard to find out if any slaves who had been brought to the U.S. illegally after 1808 were obliged to seek naturalization after 1868, or whether they were regarded as citizens under Sec. 1 of the 14th amendment even though they had not been born in the U.S. or formally naturalized). Rogers Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org.