Explain the meaning and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States and Massachusetts.


Focus Question: What has been the changing history and meaning of citizenship in the United States?


15 people taking Oath of Allegiance, Boise Idaho, 2015
15 people taking Oath of Allegiance, Boise Idaho, 2015


How to Become an American Citizen from Department of Homeland Security

To be a citizen at birth you must:
  • be born in the United States orin certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States and be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;
OR
  • have a parent or parents who are citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad).
  • and meet other requirements

To become a citizen after birth, you must:


primary_sources.PNGNaturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America


Citizenship Test

external image Gov-us_passport.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 12.06.19 PM.pngClick here for selections from the U. S. government's citizenship quiz with the option of taking only a sampling of questions.

game_icon.svg.pngCivic Literacy Exam from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Average score among American adults was 49%.

Edward Laning working on mural for Ellis Island, 1937
Edward Laning working on mural for Ellis Island, 1937

History of Citizenship


Who Deserves to be Called an American Citizen? Annalise Orleck, Dartmouth College

European Immigration


1790 Alien Naturalization Act
  • Stated only a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof,"

multicultural.pngAfrican American Citizenship


14th and 15th Amendments

14th amendment and citizenship from the Library of Congress
  • 14th Amendment to the Constitution
    • This amendment granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed.
      • In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


Asian American Citizenship

Searching Chinese immigrants for opium, San Francisco, 1876
Searching Chinese immigrants for opium, San Francisco, 1876


Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Acts

The Chinese Exclusion Act

primary_sources.PNGThe Chinese Exclusion Act: Primary Documents


Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 11.53.33 AM.pngNative American Citizenship

external image 1924_Indian_Citizenship_Act.jpg


The image above shows President Calvin Coolidge with four Osage Indians after Coolidge signed the bill granting Indians full citizenship

Indian Citizenship Act of 1924

Congress Grants Citizenship to all Native Americans Born in the U. S., June 24, 1924

Image from University of Houston Law Center
Image from University of Houston Law Center

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.00.01 PM.pngMexican American Citizenship


America's Forgotten History of Mexican-American Repatriation, Fresh Air, NPR, September10, 2015
  • With a scarcity of jobs during the Depression, more than a million people of Mexican descent were sent to Mexico; 60 percent with U.S. citizens


book.pngDecade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. Francisco Balderrama and Raymond Rodriguez, 2006

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.41.57 PM.pngHernandez V. Texas (1954)
  • Purposeful exclusion on Mexican-Americans from jury service violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment


Citizenship in 21st Century


primary_sources.PNGFor writing by teachers and students about citizenship in the 21st century, visit an online exhibit from the National Council for the Social Studies in the National Gallery of Writing.

primary_sources.PNGClick here for an article regarding a speech given by President Obama on his definition of citizenship


massseal.gifGo here for an Outline of the requirements for being a resident of Massachusetts

external image Red_apple.jpgClick for a lesson plan, including essays and other resources on "Promoting Active Citizenship"