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Reconstructing the Immigrant: The Naturalization Act of 1870 in Global Perspective

Reconstructing the Immigrant: The Naturalization Act of 1870 in Global Perspective <p>Abstract:</p><p>The Republican Congress in 1870 joined an international effort to redefine laws of citizenship, resulting in the Naturalization Act. While previous histories of the act focus on the domestic origins of the law, this article places the Naturalization Act in a global context, seeing it as a response to international and domestic disputes sparked by global migration. The success of US-backed treaties guaranteeing freedom of movement and the right to change one’s citizenship (i.e., the right of expatriation) triggered new concern about the allegiances of immigrants and fueled Republican calls for greater federal control over the naturalization process. The bills that ultimately resulted in the Naturalization Act of 1870 sparked bitter debate as policymakers, diplomats, and foreign-born Americans negotiated the racial, ethnic, and political boundaries of American citizenship. Targeted by Republican naturalization reforms, European immigrants and their allies shifted legislators’ attention to Chinese immigrants to reinforce the racial borders of citizenship and deflect Republican attacks on their own loyalty.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

Reconstructing the Immigrant: The Naturalization Act of 1870 in Global Perspective

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 11 (3) – Sep 1, 2021

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>The Republican Congress in 1870 joined an international effort to redefine laws of citizenship, resulting in the Naturalization Act. While previous histories of the act focus on the domestic origins of the law, this article places the Naturalization Act in a global context, seeing it as a response to international and domestic disputes sparked by global migration. The success of US-backed treaties guaranteeing freedom of movement and the right to change one’s citizenship (i.e., the right of expatriation) triggered new concern about the allegiances of immigrants and fueled Republican calls for greater federal control over the naturalization process. The bills that ultimately resulted in the Naturalization Act of 1870 sparked bitter debate as policymakers, diplomats, and foreign-born Americans negotiated the racial, ethnic, and political boundaries of American citizenship. Targeted by Republican naturalization reforms, European immigrants and their allies shifted legislators’ attention to Chinese immigrants to reinforce the racial borders of citizenship and deflect Republican attacks on their own loyalty.</p>

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Sep 1, 2021

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