fo rum The Future of Reconstruction Studies Birthright Citizenship and Reconstruction's Unfinished Revolution Martha S. Jones http://journalofthecivilwarera.org/ forum-the-future-of-reconstruction-studies It is difficult to point to any moment during the past two centuries when the principle of birthright citizenship was not the subject of debate. This essay suggests that the Reconstruction-era ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, in this sense, is best understood as an important, though not definitive, moment in the history of birthright. The import and the limits of events in 186768 followed on the heels of antebellum debates over the status of free African Americans. And they were followed by continued uncertainty about birthright when, at the century's close, questions plagued the children of Chinese immigrants because their parents were ineligible for naturalization. The Fourteenth Amendment resolved the citizenship dilemma faced by former slaves. It did less well for the U.S.-born children of immigrants who, in the 1890s and today, face questions about where they are situated along the nation's borders of belonging.
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jan 26, 2017